‘Tight Jeans’ dir. Destiny Ekaragha (2008)
Three black teenagers are becoming frustrated while waiting for their friend. A young white lad walks past wearing super-tight jeans. The boys look on until one of them asks the pivotal question, “How can a man wear jeans that tight?” This sparks a hilarious debate about race and culture.
Winner, Newcomer Award, 2008
Presented in association with Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival 2012
5 Questions for Destiny Ekaragha
C8: Tight Jeans keeps the tone light, but has some serious things to say about race and identity. What are the ideas that you would most like to explore as a filmmaker?
DE: I’d like to explore the grey areas in life. The things we all do but don’t talk about in public. I’d like to shed light on subjects that I feel are in darkness without being didactic. I’d rather the audience make up its own mind.
C8: Where does Tight Jeans sit in your career, what had you done before?
DE: Tight Jeans was my first film. It’s where my career began. Before that, I studied film, became a runner and then a PA.
C8: It looks like it was probably quite a manageable shoot – did you plan the project according to your means?
DE: The first film that my producer Tamana Bleasdale and I wanted to make was a shot called The Park. However, because of my lack of experience, we couldn’t secure funding for it. I decided to write something that wouldn’t cost us a lot of money to make. Minimal locations, minima cast etc. Out of that came Tight Jeans. The shoot ran smoothly because of Tamana. She’s a brilliant producer. She made sure that I had an experienced crew to balance my inexperience at the time and she’s extremely organised. Beacause of this, the shoot was painless for me.
C8: Who are the filmmakers or artists that influence you the most, and why?
DE: The filmmakers that influence me the most are John Hughes, Richard Linklater, Spike Lee, Kevin Smith, Richard Price and Quentin Tarantino. These Directors are my biggest influences not only because they’re writers but because of how they write. After seeing films like Clerks and The Breakfast Club, I knew that these were the kind of films that I wanted to make and these were the styles that I wanted to make them in. Dialogue is so important in these films, whether it’s pure comedy or drenched in drama, the spoken word is often what comes first. When I started writing, my influences were clear to me. Also, these filmmakers tend to tell stories from a very human perspective no matter the genre. I mean, I can relate to Jules in Pulp Fiction. Here’s a guy that wants more from life, more than his dead end cleaning job. I can fully relate to that. Ok, so he also kills people and it’s their blood that he’s cleaning but that’s not the point. He’s written as a three dimensional human being. He’s tired and bored. I get that.
C8: What’s next on the horizon for you as a filmmaker?
DE: I’m attached to direct a feature film based on the Olivier Award winning play Gone Too Far, written by Bola Agbaje. It’s been a real treat working with her. I’m also writing a feature and a TV series with Baff Akoto.