When the short film you wrote and directed as an LMU student is selected to air and be available on demand across a range of HBO platforms, entertainment industry meetings galore are certain to follow.
Solomon Onita Jr. knows that he’s expected to pitch the project that he’d like to make next. Onita’s pitches won’t be clichés and fluff. “I’m working on expanding my voice as a young filmmaker,” he says, “and telling stories about the continent of Africa and other parts of the world that are not often talked about.”
The Houston-born filmmaker is a first-generation American. His family emigrated from Nigeria, same as the husband and wife lead characters in “JOY,” the short film available on HBO.
In the film, which has also played in festivals and showcases, the wife pleads with the husband to abandon tradition, adapt to life in the U.S., and not circumcise their characters’ ten-year-old daughter.
“JOY” isn’t an activist film, Onita says, because viewers already know the wrongs of female circumcision. Instead, he says: “I was telling this story for story’s sake, to explore what immigrants go through when they move to a new place and face assimilation versus non-assimilation.”
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