DBK Studios and Sky Studios’ ‘Unearthed Narratives’ initiative has successfully launched.
In 2021 the initiative was founded to celebrate Black British and diverse talent and to
improve the representation of Black and diverse groups both on and off the screen. The short films have been written and directed by some of the UK’s best, new and emerging talent. The themes focus on
care work, sickle cell anaemia, social media culture, black masculinity through the lens of a male ballet dancer, racism in 1950’s England, and the culture within London housing estates.
The five writers/directors has been supported by executive producers Koby Adom, Dola Araoye
and Domenique Fragale and lead producer Danielle Goff. The shorts were commissioned by Manpreet
Dosanjh commissioning editor for Sky Studios.
The cast featured in the films includes Stephen Odubola (Blue Story), Hope Ipoku and
Malcolm Kamulete (Top Boy), Dorcas Shola Fapson (MTV’s Shuga), Ellis George (Small Axe: Lover’s
Rock), Susannah Harker (BAFTA-nominated for House of Cards – (1990), Granchester, Pride &
Prejudice), Precious Mustapha (Fate: The Winx Saga & The Power), Paterson Joseph (Noughts and
Crosses, Peep Show, Avenue 5).
Along with newcomers: Nikki Fagbemi, Jediael Stiling, Kimberley Okoye, Noah Hicks and Shadrach Agozino.
TBB spoke to all five filmmakers and Executive Producer Koby Adom about the journey bringing the Unearthed Narrative film series to life:
TBB Talks to … Koby Adom, Executive Producer of the Unearthed Narratives series
“Coming into this industry, I experienced a range of obstacles and challenges that I’d like to prevent other Black and ethnic minority filmmakers from unfairly experiencing. Before writing and directing Haircut (2019), I didn’t have a foot in this industry, however after it was released, all the opportunities and success started pouring in my direction.
“I want to help others get that first foot in the door and champion ownership because we have always had the fewest opportunities in the industry and when we do, we have no say in the business end of things.
“With this project, I had always dreamed of setting up a production company, as well as helping others, so this was almost like killing two birds with one stone.“
Read the full interview with Koby here.
TBB Talks to … Edem Wornoo creator of Butterfly Affect
Butterfly Affect centres around Iris, a young black ballet dancer from a London neighbourhood who must learn how to survive in two opposing worlds, in order to spread his wings.
“The film is allegorical of my journey through filmmaking. Early on, I was interested in storytelling and art of all kinds in an environment in which most boys were set on being Footballers, Rappers or Athletes. I decided that a more visually interesting way to portray this struggle on screen in my film was through dance. Much of the stereotypical preconceptions of masculinity are concerned with physicality and the brutality that a man’s physical form can threaten.”
Read the full interview with Edem here.
TBB Talks to … Teniola Zara Kin, creator of Teju’s Tale
Based on true-life events in the 1950s, Teju’s Tale, directed by Teniola King, tells the story of a girl who arrives in the UK from Nigeria to study nursing but faces challenges settling into the white-dominated institution, as two of her fellow nursing students demand to see her ‘tail’.
“The first day we were on set and I saw the cast and crew bring my script to life is certainly at the top of many memorable moments for me on Teju’s Tale. It’s quite a surreal moment seeing all the different departments work in unison to bring your vision to life, especially as a writer/director. In a moment of inspiration during a take, the lead, Dorcas Shola Fapson, said something in Yoruba that I hadn’t written into the script and at that moment I realised how important it is to cast people that are authentic to the character you’re attempting to portray.“
Read the full interview with Teniola here.
TBB Talks to … Jessica Magaye, creator of Daddy’s Girl
Daddy’s Girl dives into the Influencer world. After facing eviction, Sade, a young desperate carer enters the Influencer Olympics – a game that allows participants around the world a chance at a large cash prize and internet stardom. However, the game soon takes a dark and twisted turn.
“On the first day of shooting Daddy’s Girl, we shot a scene where Richard (Sade’s Dad) had a dementia episode where he forgot where and who he was. Looking at the amazing David Webber perform this scene with such emotion and honesty moved me to tears. As many of the people who know me know, I’m not an emotional person – especially publicly. When David was performing it was as if his face morphed into my dad’s and I finally saw how vulnerable he was. It was honestly transcendent and a moment I’ll never ever forget.“
Read the full interview with Jessica here.
TBB Talks to … Nikki Fagbemi, creator of Why Me?
Why Me? is a black comedy that follows Naima, a lacklustre bookmaker’s assistant whose life is a Jenga set of problems waiting to fall. But what will be the trigger? Her maniac boss, her over-demanding mother or the secret she is desperately trying to hide? With personal issues outside of work mounting, a severe health scare will reveal her illness to everyone.
“A memorable moment would definitely be on set and I had a crisis (sickle cell pains) and really thought that was the end of Why Me?. It was really touch and go for a moment but so grateful I was able to get through the day and I get emotional watching Why Me? because there were times, I wasn’t sure if it would happen but it is here now and I am so proud of what we made.”
Read the full interview with Nikki here.
TBB Talks to … Charlene Wango, creator of Fields
Fields is about a female pastor’s faith being challenged when her son’s previous gang life puts him in a situation she needs to protect him from.
“Personally, Fields is a short yet impactful depiction of Pastor’s life and how she impacted the youth in her area and beyond. This story is important and empowering to me as it’s a unique example of what faith, love and hope looks like. There’s something extremely pure about selflessness and Pastor’s story inspires me to be just that, in my own way. I love that Fields also touches on the importance of doing good, no matter the circumstances… that extending yourself to help someone you think is in need will come back to you in its own way.”
Read the full interview with Charlene here.
The five films from DBK’s Unearthed Narratives series are available to watch via NOW TV