Dalton Okolo, a filmmaker based in Falls Church, Virginia, has recently completed a six-minute short film about the unlikely, affectionate bond between an assassin and a small dog, entitled “She’s Mine Now.”
Principal photography took place in May of this year in the cities of Arlington and Alexandira, giving the film a specific, east coast ambience — from the nightlife to the way interiors look, it is unmistakably a movie from the capital region. (Notable films like Kevin Macdonald’s “State of Play” with Russell Crowe and Peter Segal’s “Get Smart” with Steve Carrell make use of the unique feel found in the DC area.)
According to the film’s “look book,” Okolo set out with the intention of “using steady camera movement in the first half of the film and observational (shaky)” movement “during [the] execution scene to highlight chronological change.” The film’s jumps between past and present circumstances are also punctuated by lighting and dialogue.
“Arlington’s lavishness” is on clear display in the first few sequences, with an abundance of “bright, showy” exteriors and interiors, capitalizing on neon lighting and shadows.
Other sections of the look book display a carefully thought-out production, with visual examples and references — to better characterize the film’s lighting, wardrobe, camera angling and overall visual style — that draw from a variety of influences, such as Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown” as well as David Fincher’s “Zodiac.” Tarantino’s influence can be particularly felt out of the gate in the font and song-choice (“Funnel of Love” by Wanda Jackson), yet Okolo’s own authorship is clear and controlled throughout.
His economic use of camera movement, as well as nuanced application of music and sound, creates a tense, tight cinematic experience. “She’s Mine Now” is clear in its intent and execution and benefits greatly from a strong utilization and understanding of pace, tone and rhythm.
The film was produced by Wa’ad Adam (also the assistant director on the project), Nich Scolamiero and Andrew Towe (who also served as director of photography). Production design was helmed by Liz Piccoli; costume design was done by Logan Renee. The cast is composed of Ieda Favo in the role of Assassin; Karen Smith in the role of Wife; Beau Thompson in the role of Husband; and Kenny Akinnuoye in the role of Handsome Man. The Dog was brought to life by Turbo, a trained movie dog.
Okolo explained the creative team’s goal “is to have the film premiere at a prestigious (Academy Award or BAFTA qualifying) film festival starting around late October.”
“We will start receiving acceptance/denial letters over the course of the fall and winter, so suffice it to say we’ve got some time before this film will officially premiere.” He also said “the team’s goal is to…sell it to a streamer and recoup some of the production budget” in the process.
Simultaneously, the team hopes to “work with a third-party financier (attained through the festival run) to produce a limited theatre run” in spring of next year, “possibly with other forms of content from 1108” — the production company behind “She’s Mine Now.”
“Personally, my goal is to use this as a building block to developing my feature, which I am currently writing.” This new project, Okolo explains, is “a coming-of-age crime-drama set in my old college town of Radford, VA. The film is entitled ‘New River Crime.’”
To learn more about Dalton Okolo and his work, visit imdb.com.