Please introduce yourself …
Akinola Davies Jr: I’m from London by way of Lagos Nigeria, I’m a director and filmmaker.
Wale Davies: I’m from London by way of Lagos Nigeria, I’m a writer & filmmaker.
The inspiration for X US?
Wale: Akins crazy dreams, wanting to see black people in sci-fi, re-imagination of black narratives
Akinola: Windrush scandal, gentrification, wanting to see normal black stories in sci-fi.
Tell us about the team you worked with…
Akinola: I’d have to say by and large Fiona Lamptey was magnificent throughout the process, learnt a great deal about being as methodical as possible when it comes to creating black narratives. The development team Lauren dark and David Kimbhangi (Film4) were also brilliant to work with and incredibly supportive. Aisha Bywaters who did the casting went through a mammoth job for us with finding our leads. I mean there are literally too many to name.
Wale: Fiona Lamptey, Azura Loviza, Mata Marielle and the amazing cast who were able to work well despite all the challenges we faced during production.
What does the story mean to you?
Akinola: For me, it’s a story about resilience, it’s a reminder to ring-fence our communities, financially and to indicate the value in it so we can be the custodians of protecting them. I think there is a wider conversation about individuals coming together to start cooperatives schemes and more community programmes.
Wale: To me, the film talks about how ethnic minorities always tend to bear the brunt of displacement in a more profound way than anyone else. It touches on nuances around gentrification and also colonisation.
Tell us a memorable moment from idea to final edit?
Akinola: I think probably the most memorable was wanting to shoot on coloured film and wanting to grade that black and white. I think everyone panics slightly when you want to shoot a short narrative on film. Budget purposes and not being able to really watch takes back. Equally, if it’s just for aesthetic purposes or not. For me, in my research of classic b&w sci-fi, there are no black people so it was important for me to try and create something that can be referenced.
Wale: As the film talks about displaced communities it was beautiful for me to see our community rally around its creation, we had real families come to the fore for the shoot within what was a testing time for us and I think that felt extremely special.
Share a skill-defining moment making this film?
Akinola: I guess it’s a skill but really just being super attentive to those working in your favour, there were a lot of firsts for me in this particular process. I thoroughly enjoyed and I think going through that help me value those who are really invested in a story.
Wale: As a writer, being able to test myself and delve into a genre I’ve never explored before, for me was a really fulfilling moment in the process.
Akinola: More experience, more learning, more writing, learning the industry first and foremost I think is important. There are so many talented writers and technicians but for me, it’s learning the industry, be it indie film or TV. I think there is a lot to understand and see what you have to offer and how best you can offer it.
Wale: Experiencing life and channelling those experiences into film.
X US is showing as part of Foresight films. Available to stream on All 4