How do you stay true to yourself in the filmmaking process while balancing the wants of the writer(s) and producers?
We are writers and producers and we work on different projects in several capacities. Depending on what capacity we are in on any given project, a way that we stay true to ourselves is we focus on the heart of the story and/or project and the ultimate message we want to get out. We lean in on the messages of the productions that we’re involved in and we make sure they align with the type of content we want to put out.
What was the inspiration behind Flower Ave. Films?
I, Sade, originally created Flower Ave. Films, which was taken from the name of the street I grew up on in Maryland. It was chosen because it is the place that inspired my trajectory as a filmmaker and holds dear memories of growing up with my Nigerian family. Deshawn joined shortly after and when we were deciding on a new name for our new partnership, we realized Deshawn also grew up on Rose Street, which is also a street named after a flower and it was also where she spent her formative years, so it aligned perfectly and we kept the name.
With our production company, our goal is to create compelling original stories with broad appeal that reflects our diverse backgrounds. As a creative team, we aim to tell positive stories that have an impact within our community using our unique upbringings as inspiration. Deshawn grew up in the foster care system and was directly affected by the mass incarceration issue through the imprisonment of her mother. Sade is a first-generation American with traditional Nigerian parents, which led her to navigate finding her place in two different worlds. Together we embrace tackling tough issues while highlighting the good in it all.
What is the process to interpret the script and develop its execution with other key creatives?
As directors and producers, we both hone in on what the larger story is and how it affects the protagonist and their world. After that, we lean in on the key aspects of the story and work with a team that we trust to figure out the best way to capture and visualize the themes and feeling of the story. We have a number of people that we’ve worked with and trust to execute the vision. It starts with the initial meetings about the project and becomes a collaboration because there are many moving parts to any production. After much
preparation, we execute. It’s our goal to cultivate an environment that’s fun and inclusive and we often push for women in leadership positions.
Describe a time when a project or decision you made was enhanced by including a woman’s perspective.
We worked on a show for two seasons that was all about dating and relationships from a male’s perspective. As the two female showrunners, we were very sensitive in our approach to the storytelling and wanted to make sure a woman’s point of view was woven throughout the show and that the information that was given from our male leads were sensitive to the female perspective. We made sure that the women characters represented on screen were of all shapes, sizes and complexions within the Black and Brown communities. It was very important to us as female showrunners that the show had a strong female voice even though the series was centered around the male perspective, and that there weren’t stereotypical characters on screen.