Interview with Filmmaker Hess Wesley (ADONAI)

ADONAI was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the BLACK Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The film was inspired by a true story that happened to my next door neighbor in Miami, FL when I was a kid. It didn’t quite turn out as hopeful as the film did, but being a preacher’s kid, I always wondered what that moment would be like had some divine intervention been involved and what the results would be.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

Two years

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?

Divinely hopeful.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The pandemic

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

If I’m honest, because I’m very critical of my work, I was thinking “please lay it easy on us.” lol

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

<6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Since I starred in my first commercial when I was 19 years old going into college.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Either Signs or Independence Day. I’ve always been fascinated by what’s OUT there.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

This is my very first festival experience and they’re all different, so it’s hard to know what to expect. So far, I’m just grateful for the opportunity.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It was very simple, yet very overwhelming, it’s difficult to know where to submit your film and how to budget, what’s worth your investment, which would be a waste of time, which is looking for exactly your film. This was a pretty big learning experience.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Anything my mom used to make. I lost her just a few years ago and she was the perfect Haitian chef who owned two small Haitian restaurants in Miami. I think about her cooking all the time. Just some good old fashioned Haitian food.

11. What is next for you? A new film?

Absolutely, I’ve already written a screenplay that I love which deals with the plight of black men and how sometimes their doubt of the system can lead to making tough decisions which can impact their lives in ways that are difficult to come back from. My thoughts were to make a pilot, which is what I’ve written, but I’ve gotten advice that it’s a bad idea and to just t make it a full feature. So… Working on that now.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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