Destiny Ekaragha is a British film director. Her first feature film Gone Too Far!, an adaptation of British playwright Bola Agbaje's Olivier award-winning play, premiered at BFI London and BAMcinématek New Voices in Black Cinema. She is only the third British black woman, following Ngozi Onwurah and Amma Asante, to have directed a feature-length film that received theatrical distribution in the UK.
In an exclusive interview with Filmatique, Destiny Ekaragha discusses identity, belonging, and the power of comedy to pierce the human psyche.
FILMATIQUE: Gone Too Far! juxtaposes two brothers' very different modes of assimilating to life in South London. What about this story resonated with you, and what motivated you to bring Bola Agbaje's celebrated play to the screen?
DESTINY EKARAGHA: My parents are Nigerian but I was born and raised in London. I could see London from both sides, as a Nigerian and as a Brit. I'd never seen a story that had tapped into that as authentically as Bola's script had. It dealt with identity and with belonging, two things I struggled with growing up. I wanted to tell that story because it felt like my own.
FLMTQ: While tackling weighty subjects such as identity, race, multi-culturalism and brotherhood, Gone Too Far! remains a comedy. How do you believe this genre can more aptly explore such topics versus more social-realist forms of cinema?
DE: Comedy has a unique way of penetrating the human psyche without said human feeling preached at. That's what I love about comedy. There's space for all genres; social-realist forms are wonderful and a great way to tell a story. However, I tend to ruminate on things more if I've laughed with it. I think that levity can exist in most other genres too if handled well.
FLMTQ: Gone Too Far!is also notable for its accurate depictions of modern youth culture such as the way characters dress, speak, and act when in groups. How did you seek to capture the verisimilitude of Peckham's teenagers onscreen?
DE: I was born and raised in South East London where the film takes place, so I didn't have to work too hard to capture the authenticity of the teenagers. In a way I am those teenagers. I've gotta say, it was fun to look back and sort of visit that age again.
FLMTQ: Are you working on any new projects, and if so, can you tell us a bit about them?
DE: Aside from directing TV shows, I'm developing a few films but it's very early days.
Interview by Ursula Grisham Head Curator, Filmatique