There is a new short film in the works that will show the true meaning of being in a relationship but not actually being in a relationship. The new short film, Let’s Just Be Friends, starring Keith Powers (New Edition Story) and newcomer Pepi Sonuga, skillfully conveys how the “Hook Up” generation has made dating complicated.
If you are the type of person that is emotional and always having your emotions relate to every Drake song, you may want to watch this flick. The man behind this short film is Damilare Sonoiki -- whose credits include ABC’s black-ish (2014) and African Booty Scratcher (2016), which is a comedy series that challenges semantics, an insult where many first and second-generation African children dread.
The Let’s Just Be Friends trailer is getting a lot of attention online, but the producers are trying to raise money for the film foras an independent feature. You can help by donating to their Kickstarter!
I got to sit down and ask Damilare about his views on this generation's ‘Netflix & Chill’ relationships.
Q: Why do we focus so much on relationships?
A: I'm not sure why. I think some of the reason why is the way we've been conditioned. From childhood, we see fairy tales and Disney movies that depict relationships as the be all and end all of life, so I think that is part of it. And just being human, we all need or want someone to talk to.
Q: Given that you’re short film ‘Let’s just be friends’ is about the tragedy of dating with young black couples, do you think this film gives this generation that was raised on movies such as Love & Basketball, Love Jones, Brown Sugaretc., hope on love? Do you think this short film will change that perspective of those traditional movies? How?
A: Right now we are trying to turn it into a feature film, so hopefully it can join the canon of those movies you mentioned. I don't know if it will give this generation hope, but I think it will be an authentic look at what relationships look like today.
Q: How do you think your film with affect people's view on dating/ relationships? What is (Damilare) view on relationships today? How is that reflected in your movie?
A: I think it might make people question the sanity and sustainability of being in those "we're not in a relationship" relationships that so many of us can fall in. My view on relationships changes, but I think they can be beautiful and fulfilling, but can also be a lot of work. I also think they can be dark sometimes, and I hope to cover that full spectrum.
Q: How are we supposed to find true love if it is so easy to "hook up" "chill with" or DM somebody we find attractive? Do you think in today's society the need for immediate attention?
A:I think the immediacy of "hook-up culture" and having so many options probably hurts relationships, but on the other hand, I am sure there are relationships that exist today because of that culture and because of all those options.
Q: What are your views on "Netflix & Chill"? Are you a victim of this?
A: I think Netflix and Chill is the laziest date and not a great way to get to know somebody, but there's something nice about the intimacy of it.
Q: Is any of your personal experiences reflected in the film?
A: The main character and the experiences reflected in the film are a composite of lots of people we all know.
Q: I know you studied Economics in Harvard, what made you move to LA and become a TV writer?
A: I wrote for a humor magazine on campus called the Harvard Lampoon, and that led me to get an agent and eventually a job writing for TV.
Q: With such an amazing and talented young cast, how was the casting process? Did it come easy or was it difficult to find the right person for the part?
A: A friend of mine handled the casting. I reached out to Keith because we had mutual friends and I thought he would be perfect for it. He and Pepi played love interests on a show coming out in April, so they already had chemistry.
‘Let’s Just Be Friends’ is a comedy about the tragedy that dating has become. So the question is: Will there ever be a happy ending for us?