Shola Amoo has his feature debut A Moving Image playing at the BFI London Film Festival and he also directs our new Shakespeare Lives short, Dear Mister Shakespeare.
Shola is a graduate of the National Film and Television School, where he made his award-winning graduation film Touch. His debut feature A Moving Image premiered at the LA Film Festival and now screens at the BFI London Film Festival. He also collaborates with visual artist Phoebe Boswell on Shakespeare Lives short Dear Mister Shakespeare (watch here).
What’s your connection to the British Council?
I was on the British Council's Script Junction programme, which was a development exchange program between screenwriters in Nigeria and the UK. It was an amazing experience that took me from the Edinburgh International Film Festival to The African International Film Festival in Lagos.
I recently directed a short film as part of the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives initiative called Dear Mister Shakespeare; it’s a reinterpretation of Othello. The film was written by artist Phoebe Boswell.
What are you working on right now?
My debut feature film A Moving Image is about to have it’s European premiere at The London Film Festival and I’m excited to finally bring it home. It’s a multimedia film about gentrification in Brixton that incorporates fiction, documentary and performance art. We’re currently putting the finishing touches to our interactive website. We had our world premiere at The LA Film Festival in July and have been touring the US circuit. I’m also developing newfeature projects including one with the BFI and Creative England.
What originally turned you onto film?
Different mediums led me to film, music was my first artistic outlet, I experimented in theatre, music videos and journalism before deciding that film was the medium that could pull all of my interests together. I’m excited about the evolution of the medium, that’s why I find the concept of new technologies like Virtual Reality very interesting.
What has been your career high so far?
Picking up my Special Recognition Award for A Moving Image at The blackstar film festival in Philadelphia, legends like Julie Dash and Haile Gerima were in the audience - so that was a moment.
What was your first job in the film industry?
It was directing a short documentary about knife crime in London that somehow screened at the BFI and then got sold to an investigative journalism platform called Current TV, they don’t exist anymore but that was a pretty cool experience.
What advicewould you give to someone starting off in film making?
Break stuff and reassemble it until you find something interesting.
What is your favourite British film?
Bronson by Nicolas Winding Refn – because it’s a thrill.
If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?
Old Boy by Park-Chan Wook – because I have to know how he choreographed that infamous hallway fight scene. It’s one of the most transformative moments captured in cinema.
What’s the first film you remember seeing? ~
I think it was Dirty Dancing – and I think I was feeling something I couldn’t quite articulate at the time.
What’s your favourite line or scene from a film?
From Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing:
Mookie says: Pino, fuck you, fuck your pizza and fuck Frank Sinatra
Pino responds: Well, fuck you too and fuck Michael Jackson.
This is the start of a visually innovative scene that deconstructs race relations in the film’s Brooklyn setting in a visceral and hilarious way. It’s a moment of pure cinema.
Favourite screen kiss?
Definitely that upside-down Spider-Man kiss, because everyone tried to replicate it and it never looked as good.
Who’s your favourite screen hero and villain?
My favourite screen hero is Malik from Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, watching him rise through the ranks is so compelling because of the obstacles he has to overcome.
My favourite screen villain is Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight because being bad has never looked so fun and for a supposed “villain” he has some pretty compelling arguments. I think someone needs to write a contrarian critique on how the Joker might actually be the hero of that film.
Who would play you in the film about your life?
Someone young, black and handsome