Awards Season Picks: Two Distant Strangers

Two men facing each other

In this episode of our Awards Season Picks series, writer-director Travon Free and co-director Martin Desmond Roe chat to writer Lola Adesioye about their Oscar®-nominated film, Two Distant Strangers

By Jess Aureli

‘Thirty-two minutes of something pretty exceptional’ is how Lola Adesioye describes Two Distant Strangers, which was written and directed by Travon Free, and co-directed by Martin Desmond Roe. Taking inspiration from Groundhog Day’s ‘one day lived over and over again’ format, the film follows protagonist Carter James as he relives a deadly encounter with the police.

The cycle of emotions that is the result of police brutality against Black people, and what it takes to internalise that cycle, was what sparked the idea for Free – it was ‘like living through the worst version of Groundhog Day,’ he says. And while, by his own admission, he wasn’t able to resolve the film with an idealised portrayal of a society free of violence against Black people – ‘How can I write something that’s not reality?’ – it is not without hope. Free and Desmond Roe see it as a tool for starting conversations; and for white people, ‘it’s a window into what it feels like to be us. It moves beyond words.’

Watch our video as Free and Desmond Roe talk to writer Lola Adesioye about the power of the film medium, the symbolism of something as seemingly banal as wanting to get home to your dog, and what made creating this film an almost-theatrical experience. 
Interested in becoming a member?