Writer-director Abraham Adeyemi had simply moved to a brand new residence when he received on the cellphone to speak about “No More Wings,” his quick movie that could be a finalist in TheWrap’s 2020 ShortList Film Festival. And his transfer was well-timed, as a result of he was heading again to South London, the realm the place he grew up and the one that’s a necessary setting for his movie.
“I went for a walk this morning and I felt so full of joy,” Adeyemi mentioned of his return to the working-class neighborhood that he’d left when he was finding out at Birkbeck University and changing into a profitable playwright. “I’ve been away from here for about four years — and if I’m honest, I would never imagine that I would be missing South London.”
“No More Wings,” which takes place completely contained in the Morley’s fast-food hen store in South London, is all about residence in one of many areas within the British capital with the most important Black inhabitants. “It’s a terrible pitch,” he mentioned. “It’s about two friends meeting up in a chicken shop, loosely based on two friends I knew growing up. I kept thinking, what would happen if they met up in a chicken shop today, with their lives turning out very differently?”
In the movie, one of many mates has left South London and turn out to be very profitable; the opposite nonetheless lives within the previous neighborhood and offers medication. They meet within the store and have a well mannered dialog over hen wings, however their historical past comes out between the strains, augmented by flashbacks to the 2 males as kids in the identical store. “A friend of mine told me that in all of my work, I’m asking about the meaning of home,” Adeyemi mentioned. “And I think it’s taken me nine years to realize that’s true. Home is always a big conversation, and a big conflict as well.”
Initially, although, Adeyemi was not planning to direct the quick himself. He wrote it for the Soho House’s world screenwriting competitors, which required that the profitable author additionally direct the screenplay. “I tried to find a loophole so somebody else could direct, but I couldn’t,” he mentioned. “And it is the perfect film for me to make my directing debut.”
Adeyemi had by no means taken a movie course, learn a e book about directing or watched a grasp class, and he solely had about 10 weeks to learn to turn out to be a director between the time he received the competitors and started to shoot “No More Wings.” His director of pictures talked him out of his preliminary plan to shoot the movie in a single steady shot, explaining that he may say so much with out dialogue if he wasn’t hung up on the single-shot logistics. He additionally panicked throughout the two-day shoot when he thought he hadn’t shot some needed transitions, however the movie ended up coming collectively within the enhancing room.
But that, he mentioned, is when the largest drawback arose. Watching the edit, he determined that one essential scene wouldn’t work except it had a musical rating — so he went to an always-reliable composer buddy of his, who mentioned he couldn’t assure it however would attempt to write one thing for the scene.
“On the day the film was due, he said, ‘I’m really sorry, I’ve not been able to get anything for you,’” Adeyemi remembered. “We had about 10 hours to deliver the film, we did not have a score and it does not work in silence. I had to reach out to my network to say I was looking for a score. I don’t know what kind of miracle was working for me, but I got about 50 different composers working for me. And then I had to sit there listening to score after score. It was a mind-numbing experience, but there was no option to stretch it out.”
“No More Wings” received the jury prize at this 12 months’s Tribeca Film Festival, which didn’t happen bodily due to the coronavirus. And as but, Adeyemi mentioned, it has not had a screening within the space the place it was impressed and shot. “I had a loose idea that we would have a screening in a South London cinema, and we’d have chicken wings at the screening,” he mentioned.
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