In just a few days, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. heads to theaters and Peacock. The feature follows Trinitie Childs and Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs, the heads of a prominent megachurch embroiled in a scandal that forced them to temporarily close their doors. Now, they must work to rebuild both their reputation and their congregation. Ahead of the film’s release, we spoke with filmmaking sister duo Adamma and Adanne Ebo about setting the tone of their film and more.
Read on to find out what they had to say!
Note: This interview was edited for clarity.
Nerds & Beyond: My name is Julia, and I am here with Nerds & Beyond.
Adanne Ebo: Hello, Julia.
Nerds & Beyond: Hi, how are you guys today?
Adanne Ebo: We’re doing good. What type of nerd are you?
Nerds & Beyond: Uhhh, I- that’s a good question. I don’t know. [laughs] I guess I’m just like a general nerd. [laughs]
Adanne Ebo: [laughing] I feel it.
Nerds & Beyond: To kick things off today, this project first started as a short film. What prompted you guys to adapt it as a feature?
Adamma Ebo: It actually started as a feature and then it was re-adapted as a short and then expanded once again as a feature. But the plan was always for it to be a feature, and so we decided to do the short as like a proof of concept to really show people the tone and the specificity of this world, because it’s a little hard to work into an elevator pitch. [laughs]
Nerds & Beyond: Adamma, this is also your feature directorial debut. How did revisiting what you already created make it easier to undertake this larger project?
Adamma Ebo: Oh, I mean I think that there’s certain expectations – I already had some certain expectations, right. So I already knew… we shot the short and the feature at the same church, so I already knew those folks. I already knew people were going to be stopping us on the side of the road or stopping their cars and stuff like that. But I also knew creatively what I could take advantage of in the space. I got to show a lot more of the opulence and the scope of this world in the feature than I did in the short.
Nerds & Beyond: For both of you, I think something that works really well for this movie is that it is mostly shot like a documentary. It felt much more personal and much more engaging. Why was that an important choice for you, and how else do you think it helps boost the story?
Adanne Ebo: I think because people take documentarians and documentary filmmaking as fact, using that style allowed us to play with the theme of what is truth and what are certain people’s truths. What’s the in-between, what’s the blurred lines? So it really allowed us to play with that in the story.
Nerds & Beyond: As this is a satire, you do hit on some serious subject matter but it’s just so funny the way you go about it. What were some of the difficulties of striking that balance between serious and comedy, and what were some of the easier aspects?
Adamma Ebo: I don’t think it was very difficult. What’s on-screen is pretty much what’s in the script, and so it was written with that tonal balance. I think we’re big dark comedy and satire fans, and so having consumed a lot of it, I think now it’s just sort of intrinsic, like how to approach storytelling in that way.
Adanne Ebo: Yeah.
Adamma Ebo: I will say I guess in the editing process it was like visually what’s going to strike the best tonal balance, because I think it was very much, again, in the script and in the dialogue. But what the actors are, how the performances are and stuff like that, and where – especially in the faux documentary moments what the camera is doing in that moment was a key into really making sure that those elements underscored what was already written tonally.
Nerds & Beyond: That is all the time I have for you today. Thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.
Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul. releases in theaters and Peacock on September 2. Stay tuned for our review, and find our review with cast member Nicole Beharie here. Check out the trailer below: