15th LICHTSPIELKLUB
SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
Interview

Ethosheia Hylton
& Joan Iyiola 

Dọlápọ̀ is Fine

Comedy / Drama / Animation
apatanproductions.com

Ready to leave her UK boarding school and enter the working world, a young Black woman faces pressure to change her name and natural hairstyle.

Hi Joan (co-writer/actress) & Ethosheia (Director) thank you for talking to The New Current, these have been some very strange times, how have you been holding up?

 

Joan: Not too badly, thank you! As the year unfolds, we are hopeful for what the year will hold. 

 

Was it easy to motivate yourself creatively during the lockdowns? 

Ethosheia: Yes it was. I remember thinking this is the time to write that script you have been meaning to get to or develop that idea. There aren't many occasions when everything just stops the way that it did at the start of lockdown so I literally emerged myself in being creative; writing, reading and watching films and shows. 

You've had a great festival run with Dolapo is Fine, winning multiple awards including the HBO Short Film Award at the American Black Film Festival 2020, what has it meant for you both to get this type of recognition for your film?

J: To have achieved this level of recognition has been incredible. You make art in the hope that one person will watch it, or that the message that you’re sharing will be a conversation starter, so we feel grateful to everyone who has watched and celebrated this film. 

 

Congratulations on having Dolapo is Fine selected for British Shorts 2022, how does it feel to be at the festival and part of such an amazing line-up of short films?

 

E: It's wonderful to have Dolapo is Fine in the British Shorts 2022. There are some really powerful films screening this year, so really happy to be a part of the festival.

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With everything that is going on due to Covid how essential are festivals like British Shorts Berlin in continuing to provide a platform for Independent British short films?

J: Knowing that our films can still be shared during this time provides hope, and spurs us to continue, despite the challenges. We are grateful for the community, and it encourages us to keep making. British Shorts Berlin is a fantastic festival to be a part of, and we feel proud to sit alongside so many wonderful artists. 

What was the inspiration behind your screenplay for Dolapo is Fine and Ethosheia what was it about Joan & Chibundu Onuzo screenplay that connected with you as a director?

E: As soon as I read the script, I wanted to direct Dolapo is Fine. As well as being relatable to my own teen experiences, (I changed my name a few times when I was younger because no one could pronounce Ethosheia) I could see it visually and it really excited me as a director.  I love strong female roles like Dolapo, coming-of-age stories, overcoming challenges and characters who go on journeys to discover themselves. I really wanted to explore these themes in film and Dolapo presented the perfect opportunity to do this. 

Joan as well as writing and producing Dolapo is Fine you also feature as "Daisy", had you always intended to appear in this short?

J: Believe it or not, I hadn’t. I was learning new skills in writing/producing so was very focused in that space.

 

But as I dove deeper into writing the character of Daisy, I was compelled to explore her further. I hadn’t ever played a character like Daisy before, she felt complex yet human, so I threw my hat in the ring. 

 

Ethosheia did you have any apprehensions about directing the writer and producer?

I directed an actress/ writer/ producer before in the film In the Silence so I wasn't apprehensive about directing Joan. I've only had great collaborative experiences in these circumstances, especially when it comes to sharing ideas and character development. They know the story and the characters really well so it was a joy to direct Joan

How important is the collaborative nature of filmmaking between director and writer/producer?

 

J: How you collaborate determines the outcome of the film. You are sharing a vision that you wish to make a reality. Collaboration is key, and Ethosheia was a wonderful director to work with. 

 

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the films/stories they want to tell?

 

E: Definitely! It's so important to have an eclectic and diverse range of voices on our screen. It's what moves audiences and opens them up to different worlds and experiences. 

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"Watch the things that you may not like, for there’s learning in that too. Share your ideas with someone else about the types of films that you would like to make."

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?

J: I always loved watching films, but my passion for filmmaking only began relatively recently. Before this, I existed mainly as an actress in theatre in the UK. Broadening my work into film has been a pathway that I didn’t necessarily expect, but I am grateful for the journey and the learning that it has given me. 

Has your approach to your writing and directing changed since your debut short?

J: The approach is the same, which involves being incredibly passionate about the story that you are choosing to tell.  The process alters, and I would say the process can change from project to project, but also as you grow as an artist and human. 

Is there any tips or advice you would offer someone thinking about getting into filmmaking?

J: Watch everything. Spend time trying to articulate your palette. What genres do you enjoy most, why? Watch the things that you may not like, for there’s learning in that too. Share your ideas with someone else about the types of films that you would like to make. Speak it into existence. Then practice, pick up your phone and capture the world around you. Practice, practice, practice. 

 

And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Dolapo is Fine?

E: I really hope the film speaks to a generation of young women with similar or relatable experiences like Dolapo and that it empowers them to be themselves.