Since coming to LMU two years ago, Solomon Onita Jr. (PROD – M.F.A. ’16) has wasted no time making bold creative choices and working diligently to bring often unseen stories to the screen, taking home the SFTV Dean’s Directing Award at Film Outside the Frame two years in a row and earning Best Picture in 2015 with his most recent short film JOY.
An official selection of the American Black Film Festival, LA Shorts Fest and Screen Actors Guild Shorts Showcase, JOY is about a Nigerian woman living in America who struggles to convince her traditionalist husband not to circumcise their ten-year-old daughter, Joy. Solomon drew upon his Nigerian American heritage for his film, using “female circumcision as a tool in telling the story of culture clashes and assimilation into American culture.”
The film was one of only five selected into the HBO American Black Film Festival this past June and will air on HBO next week as part of the network’s Black History Month programming.
Watch the video below to hear Solomon discuss his creative process, collaborating with his fellow classmates and the making of JOY.
JOY airs on HBO at 5:45 p.m. on Feb. 5 and is available to stream on HBO Go starting Feb. 1.