The Skinny on… Adura Onashile
As Adura Onashile's short film Expensive Shit arrives in film festival programmes this month, we quiz her about dream dinner guests and memories of the before-times
Adura Onashile's short film Expensive Shit gets quite the airing in March. The project started life as a theatre production at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016, where it won a Fringe First award, and takes us inside a Glasgow nightclub to tell the story of a Nigerian toilet attendant who has an extremely tough decision to make. Onashile adapted the play for the screen, and the resulting short film is playing as part of Glasgow Film Festival’s Welcome To strand, which shines a light on Black Scottish stories past and present. Later in the month, the film will be found in the Glasgow Short Film Festival programme, where it'll be fighting it out with other fresh homegrown work in the festival's annual Scottish Short Film Competition.
Ahead of these screenings, Onashile lets us in on some of the burning questions of the day in The Skinny’s Q&A.
What’s your favourite place to visit and why?
Lagos. Every time I visit the city feels transformed, endlessly evolving. It’s huge, sprawling and mad and extreme, teeming with life, possibility and danger. There is definitely a sense of being on the edge when I’m there and that feels so rich in terms of creativity, possibility and just sheer aliveness.
Favourite colour and why?
Blue/Indigo. I feel like the colour was around me a lot growing up, in batiks and artworks. It can feel really rich and full of depth but also there is a sensuality to it.
Who was your hero growing up?
My uncle. He passed recently from COVID-19. But he embodied everything I hold dear – integrity, passion, style, humour, risk-taking. He made me care about the world and about trying to make it better. He was a sociologist and for most of his life had this unwavering faith in humanity.
Whose work inspires you now?
Right now – Arthur Jafa, Christina Sharpe, Lorna Simpson.
What's your favourite food to cook?
To cook – anything with chorizo. But to eat – pounded yam and egusi stew.
What three people would you invite to your dinner party and what are you cooking?
Gary Younge, Zadie Smith and Steve McQueen. And I'm cooking anything with chorizo and lots of wine.
What’s your all-time favourite album?
Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.
What’s the worst film you’ve ever seen?
Oceans 13. What a wasted opportunity.
What book would you take to a protracted period of government-enforced isolation?
The complete works of Octavia Butler, having never read her and feeling major fomo.
Who’s the worst?
Toddlers. So self-obsessed!
When did you last cry?
A couple of days ago, in the middle of the night; missed something or someone, couldn’t really put my finger on it.
What are you most scared of?
When did you last vomit and why?
Food poisoning, a while back now.
Tell us a secret?
I find goodbyes awkward. Any goodbyes: phone calls, at the grocers, close friends, all of it. We should just be able to walk away silently.
Which celebrity could you take in a fight?
If you could be reincarnated as an animal, which animal would it be?
What do you miss most from the before times (i.e. pre-COVID)?
Beer gardens. Summer.
What song can't you wait to hear played loud on a club's soundsystem in the after times?
Gold Dust by DJ Fresh.
Expensive Shit plays online as part of Glasgow Film Festival's Welcome To programme, screening 5-8 Mar; for more details and tickets, head to glasgowfilm.org/glasgow-film-festival/shows/expensive-shit
Expensive Shit also screens in the Scottish Competition at Glasgow Short Film Festival; screening dates announced 10 Mar; for details, head to glasgowshort.org