Part 1 of our new series: Interview with a Female Filmmaker
Today we begin our new series of interviews with female filmmakers. We share with you our interview with Director, Writer and Actor, Tobore S. Dafiaga. We were particularly excited to speak with her after her short film’s recent success. Hope and Her Two Daughters was produced in 2021, addressing racial injustice through poetry and dance. It was screened this year at the BFI as part of the BFI Future Film Festival 2022, where it received a lot of praise and applause from the audience. It has now also been accepted into to Short Film Corner at Cannes Film Festival 2022. At only 25 years old we can already consider her a successful female filmmaker.
What is your creative background, and how/when did you get involved in filmmaking?
I did an undergrad in Drama & English alongside a Masters in Acting. I am also an alumni of the National Youth Film Academy. I began my filmmaking journey about 6 years ago, with my friends at Uni. A camera, a tripod and a dream haha.
What would you say Hope and Her Two Daughters is about and what inspired you to make it?
Hope and Her Two is an experimental short that explores the question ‘What Next?’ in light of the racial atrocities that took place in 2020. Inspired by the quote by St Augustine of Hippo which 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 was both challenging and inspiring. During the time, the quote fully encapsulated 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 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. I think the aim was achieved, which I’m very glad about.
What is your creative process?
I take inspiration from a variety of sources. Music, art , poetry, photography and social movements etc I use this to shape and mould the themes of my storytelling aim, and I come up with a bunch of ideas which all take shape when I outline my script. I love a good outline. It helps give shape to the multitude of ideas all taking place in my head.
Did you come up against any obstacles?
There were some fun obstacles and not so fun hurdles. It was amusing (maybe not at the time) having to come up with DIY alternatives to some of the costume or parts of the filming process when the initial things in place didn’t go according to plan. Also, it was a challenging hurdle to overcome some creative differences with some of the crew members especially when being in the driver’s seat of the creative vision.
You worked with quite a small budget, what advice would you give to other aspiring filmmakers who think they can’t afford to make their projects?
It’s very much possible and the outcome of this project is a testament to that. I think make a decision early on in the process on what you’re willing to compromise and alter the vision accordingly. Most importantly, having a crew that believe in the vision in one way or another plays a huge part as everyone is invested in the best possible outcome. Also, don’t be a crappy director or person. Facilitate an environment where people want to come in and joyfully create.
How have people reacted to the film and what response have you found the most memorable?
The responses have been so positive from friends, family and strangers alike. A memorable response occurred during the BFI Film Futures screening. People coming up to me to say how they got goosebumps and were moved by the message.
What part of the film are you most proud of?
The opportunity to include local residents of Hackney in the project. It was great hearing their stories of living in Hackney.
Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
I wish I had the time to create/facilitate a community forum afternoon where people could gather and discuss issues they’re facing in the community and solutions for how to tackle such challenges.
Do you have any other projects coming up that you’re allowed to talk about?
I’m currently in post-production for a recent short I wrote and directed called Brother’s Keeper. Keep your eyes peeled.
Hope & Her Two Daughters was not only directed by a female filmmaker, but also produced and assistant produced by women. The project was also used to promote the charity Sistah Space on social media and raise funds for it. This organisation is a non-profit which helps African heritage women and girls who have survived domestic abuse.
This is not Tobore’s first interview regarding Hope & Her Two Daughters, you can read a past interview with the Hackney Post here.
Want to learn more about female filmmakers? Want a list of female film directors? Female directors in Hollywood? You can check out this organisation which advocates for the careers of women in film and advances them by working with the industry. You can also check back on the Nostairway website every week for updates, stories and facts about female directors today and in the past, as well as helpful advice for women in the film and TV industries.
You can check out our past articles such as:
For some extra knowledge about the female filmmaker experience and the need for the female perspective in Hollywood, check out this TEDx talk by Alicia Malone: