Twin Filmmakers Adamma and Adanne Ebo Know Their Dark Comedy Might Make You Uncomfortable

First Sundance, then the world, for the dynamic duo behind Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

Twin Filmmakers Adamma Adanne Ebo
Twins Adamma (left) and Adanne. Photo: Kim Newmoney

In work and in life, the Ebo sisters function as teammates. Both are passionate about making movies and TV shows — Adamma as a director and Adanne, the elder by 17 minutes, as a producer. Their first feature film, the satirical church comedy Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and has already been picked up for a theatrical and streaming release later this year. Growing up Southern Baptist at the height of megachurch culture in the early 2000s served as creative inspiration for the project and still informs their tastes today — when the script was initially selected for the Sundance screenwriting initiative, Adamma says they "popped Champagne, turned on our favorite gospel album, and got drunk." Though the Ebos look and sometimes dress the same, their differing talents are what make them a complete package.

How would you describe your sibling dynamic?

Adanne: We don't have any other siblings, so this is really all we know, but we're very close.

Adamma: Borderline codependent.

Adanne: That's a better way of putting it! We're different people, but we like most of the same things. And we live with each other. The first time we ever "split up" was when I went to law school and you moved to L.A. for film school [in 2014].

Adamma: It was about three years of being away from each other. We realized that the "apart" thing does not work for us!

Adanne: It was like having a long-distance relationship. It was terrible and put us both into therapy. When I got to Hollywood, we immediately moved in together and were working on opposite sides of the same industry, with you on the creative side and me on the business and legal side. That's how I thought our careers would go, until I had my light-bulb moment after producing your short film.

Adamma: I was maybe trying to get you over more to my side of the industry.[laughs] In law school you complained a lot about not liking it, and I thought you'd be good at producing, and you are.

Adanne: Now our working relationship has totally blended into life at home; we brainstorm constantly.

Adamma: We can't turn it off. [laughs]

Has it been hard for people to tell you apart when you're working on the same projects?

Adanne: Oh, yeah! Especially now with COVID when everyone is wearing masks — but we have found ways around it. On set for Honk, I got blue braids and you got pink braids to make it easier for people to note who was who.

Adamma: Another issue we face is that people pitch our production company [Ejime Productions] as if we plan to do everything together. We'll do some projects separately, since you don't direct, and I don't actively creatively produce.

Adanne: True, it's just about getting people to realize where we deviate.

Adamma: I don't see us ever doing a hard split where we don't do anything together, though. We complement each other well as writing partners. I don't know if we have the most organized way of doing things, but we know each other's sensibilities.

What do you want audiences to know about Honk?

Adamma: That it's a Black movie. It'll be enjoyable for everyone, but this is for us. Black women haven't always had space to make these kinds of films. Black folks are not a monolith, but Hollywood damn sure tried to make it that way. So it's not gonna be that.

Adanne: Yes. I would say be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

Adamma: I never thought that we were going to make Honk! And I certainly never expected Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown to star. I had a Regina Hall type in mind, someone who has that essence. I thought we'd probably break new talent. But one of our producers happened to know her agent and sent over a script, so it ended up being Regina herself!

Adanne: For Sterling, the film is a dark comedy, and people associate him with dramatic roles, but he's so funny! And their chemistry together is ridiculous; it was instantaneous on their first Zoom meet. We got lucky!

Adamma: We've always been super into storytelling, so sharing this moment with you is a dream.

Adanne: It feels like this is what we were put here to do, and we were put here to do it together.

Adamma: We're soulmates. Whoever we end up with romantically long-term, we're still going to have burial plots next to each other, and then the guys can be on either side of us. The only thing that can stop this train would be death, but even then, I hope it's pretty close together, if not at the exact same time.

For more stories like this, pick up the March 2022 issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download Feb. 11.

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