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Cannes
Short Film Corner 2022 
 
Interview

TOBORE DAFIAGA
Hope And Her Two Daughters 
the-dots.com/tobore-dafiaga
May 5th, 2022

Hope And Her Two Daughters is an experimental exhibition that features a contemporary dance and poetry short film exploring the question “What next?” following the racial unrest of 2020.

 

Hello Tobore, it’s great to get to talk with you, how have you been keeping after everything that’s been happening?

 

Hi, great speaking with you guys also, thanks for the opportunity! I have been well thank you.

 

Have you been able to remain positive and creative at least?

 

It’s been a challenging 2 years since the pandemic and navigating the world thereafter. Nonetheless, nuanced  ideas, projects and general creativity have been birthed in this time for me, so I’m also grateful for that.

 

What does it mean for you to be in the Cannes Short Film Corner with Hope and Her Two Daughters and what do you hope to take away from this experience?

 

It’s a genuine honour. I never expected to achieve such an opportunity with this project. My aim was to create further dialogue about social issues that are dear to me. It’s fantastic to get to do so on a wider scale.   

 

How vital are platforms like Cannes SFC in championing and supporting the short film format?

 

Platforms like Cannes SFC are vital in building communities and widening perspectives of filmmakers creating in the short film space. We spend so long creatively obsessing over our projects for it to be over in the blink of an eye, so it’s always a welcomed opportunity to relish our stories with other like minded individuals and form partnerships.

 

Hope and Her Two Daughters was made in collaboration with the Hackney Historic Buildings Trust and part of their Digital Access Residency, what did it mean to you to be chosen to be one of the artists?

 

I had written the collection of poetry which formed the basis of the short film during the height of the pandemic and after the death of George Floyd. Discovering the quote by St Augustine of Hippo which inspired the metaphorical theme of Hope and Her Two daughters allowed me to express my thoughts about everything that was taking place. It was a perfect match to collaborate with the HHBT, who own the historic ‘St Augustine’s Tower’ in Hackney.

 

Did you have any apprehensions about being able to incorporate the local history and the heritage of Hackney as well as the architecture?

 

Yes, it was an initial challenge. However, spending time in the community and historic buildings allowed my imagination to formulate ideas surrounding my core interest in social issues, community and performance art. This gave me the freedom to interpret how I’d like to centre the historic buildings and community.

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What was it about the St Augustine of Hippo quote that inspired you so much tell this unique story and what was the massage you wanted to convey with Hope and Her Two Daughters?

 

The full quote states ““Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.”

 

It fully encapsulates the anger unveiled at the injustice on our screens, from Armaud Arbery, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor to all the names that have not made the news. It was hard to have hope in the very systems that are meant to protect us. However, the courage to keep on going and daring to believe things will change, invigorated that lost hope. The aim was to create a dialogue and an opportunity for individuals to decide within themselves, what daily actions and small steps were they willing to make in order to achieve continuous change.

 

Do you think you achieved this message?

 

The reception from my friends, family and online community affirmed within myself was very positive. I also got the amazing opportunity to premiere the short film at the BFI Future Films festival and was delighted from the audience's thoughts and feedback. Also, within myself, I was proud of the outcome of the project and working alongside my cast & crew to bring it to life. So, yes, I believe the message was achieved.

 

When working on an experimental film like Hope and Her Two Daughters how flexible do you allow yourself with your screenplay?

 

The experience of working on an experimental film with a bunch of creatives who believe in the vision is like no other. I came on set everyday, willing to be flexible. My willingness for flexibility definitely gave the screenplay a chance to breathe and form its own shape. It was tricky finding a balance though. Too far left, it would’ve become a complete avant garde piece haha.

 

What would you say have been the biggest challenge you faced bringing all this to life?

 

The biggest challenge initially was finding a cast & crew that believed in the vision of the experimental film alongside finances. I’m glad it all worked out in the end, and we utilised the limited resources as best as we could.

 

Have you always had a passion for the arts?

 

For as long as I can remember, storytelling has been in the fabrics of who I am. From my English lessons at school, to the plays and films I have directed to performing poetry; The Arts has always be a lens I process life through.

 

How much has your approach and style of your work changed since you started out?

 

I’m less focused on self-editing immediately when brainstorming. This past habit stifled me a lot. Also, I have found freedom in outlining my story ideas beat by beat rather than sitting at a laptop and trying to write from scratch.

"The aim was to create a dialogue and an opportunity for individuals to decide within themselves, what daily actions and small steps were they willing to make in order to achieve continuous change."

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Do you have any advice you wish you had been able to give or hear a younger self?

 

Trust the process. All things will work out for your good. There is so much more to life beyond what has been prescribed to you.

 

What would you say your work, to date, says about you?

 

To date my work explores my perspective on social issues and mending broken family relationships. I’m still early on in my career and look forward to how much more daring I can be.

 

Is it hard not to be discouraged when something doesn’t plan out the way you hoped?

 

I have come to accept discouragement and sometimes feeling lost as part of the journey. However, my Faith in God, understanding of purpose, willingness to persevere, loved ones and the joy of creating keeps me going in tough times.

 

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from making Hope and Her Two Daughters?

 

Don’t underestimate the power of an idea the size of a mustard seed. This all began from my daily runs whilst listening to contemporary Jazz during the pandemic. I let my mind wonder, and here I am now. Talking to you.

 

And finally, what would you like audiences to take away from Hope and Her Two Daughters?

 

I would like for them to reflect on the atrocities that continue to take place in society concerning racism, discrimination and injustices. And what steps they take in their own lives to be hopeful and part of the change.