Female filmmakers in focus: Adamma Ebo and Adanne Ebo on Honk for Jesus. Save your soul. | Interviews

Adam: We were shocked that not everyone knew, namely Sterling and Regina.

Oh, didn’t they know?

Adanne: Not before shooting.

They nailed it.

Adamma and Adanne: They did.

Adam: They are professionals.

How did you find the balance between how much of the film is the documentary and how much of the film is the private time between Trinitie and Lee-Curtis?

Adam: Most of it is written into the script. Every slugline in the script will say “Exterior: Wander To Greater Paths Baptist Church – Documentary.” And if it wasn’t in that format, it would be “Exterior: Wander To Greater Paths Baptist Church – Cinematic”, that’s how we’ve delineated the narrative standard work. So it was written into the script every time we switched back and forth, and the switches were motivated by the story. We play a lot with what’s the truth and who’s telling the truth and who’s their true self, and so we loved this idea that when the cameras are on, Triinitie and Lee-Curtis put on the most, they’re not be their true selves. When the cameras are off, it’s the opposite.

Something I got really interested in when I was trying to figure out when it was best to switch back and forth was when you want them to break in front of the camera. When you want the camera to catch them doing something, when they’re at their most uncomfortable, when they’re at their most desperate, and then switch right before it gets too ugly… until the camera crew catches everything.

Adanne: I will say there are certain things that were completely in the edit. Most of it was scripted, but there are things we found entirely in the edit. We shot many of the scenes both ways.

Adam: Shout out to Gwiz. It was his idea.

Adanne: For example, when Regina is on stage alone and she talks directly to Anita (Andrea Laing) says, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. We shot it both ways. Both the full documentary style and the cinematic style. On the page, I don’t think that scene was written to go into the cinematic.

Adam: No, it’s the documentary style.

Adanne: But because we had it both ways, we felt that when Triniti asks Anita to cut, it feels right. She asked her to cut, therefore the cameras are off, or at least she thinks they are. So then we switched from the full documentary style to the cinematic style. I think it was completely built into the editing. It’s finding the story points where we would switch between the styles in one scene.

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