Cinema Africa: Tony Okungbowa On His Los Angeles Indie Romance, ‘Echo Park’
Echo Park, Amanda Marsalis’ directorial debut, is a film that pays homage to the East Los Angeles neighborhood of its namesake. Just as British expat Alex finds himself coming to terms with the fact that he’ll have to leave town due to his career dreams fizzling out, disenchanted new neighborhood resident Sophie walks into his life by way of a craigslist ad for his couch. The two go on to pursue a fleeting “no-risk situation” that turns into a meaningful relationship neither had anticipated.
The film premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival in 2014 and is set to be released by Ava DuVernay’s distribution company ARRAY both in theaters and on Netflix on April 15th.
Charismatic multi-hyphenate Tony Okungbowa stars as Alex alongside Mamie Gummer’s Sophie. He also served as the film’s music supervisor, a producer, and was the catalyst behind the film’s story, which was formed around real events from his life in Echo Park. We caught up with Okungbowa over Skype to discuss the film, his ever-growing list of job titles, and what African visibility on screen means to him.