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Essex Girls

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Flipping the “Essex Girls” trope, this coming-of-age film explores Black British girlhood and magical female friendships in 2009 Essex.

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Navigating adolescence in Benfleet, Essex hasn’t been straightforward for British-Nigerian Bisola. After an incident at her high school shunts her into the orbit of the only other Black girl in her year, Bisola is plunged into a journey of discovering a whole new side of herself.

“This film aims to give girls like me, who have grown up in environments where hardly anyone else looks like them, the opportunity to see their experiences reflected on screen. In writing and performing the role of Bisola, I channeled my specific experience into something more universal. What is it like to be a Black girl in an almost completely white space? Does it make it harder for you to accept yourself? What effect does this have on you? And most importantly, to what extent will you go to, in order to survive and be completely happy in your natural born skin? In this short film we explore themes of identity, race, friendship, and representation. We bear witness to the catalyst that propels Bisola on a journey of gaining new-found confidence and self acceptance. We shine a light on a story that resonates with many but has been neglected and left untold.” 

– Busayo Ige, Writer of ESSEX GIRLS

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“Coming-of-age tales centering experiences of Black, teen, female protagonists are scarce. Why do we mainly see coming-of-age films for young girls when they’re white? Why are Black female protagonists never afforded the same juvenile mistakes on their journeys of self-discovery? And if we do see these stories, why are they almost always rooted in trauma or social issues that insist these Black girls mature beyond their years? We want to be the corrective to that.” 

– Yero Timi-Biu, Director of ESSEX GIRLS



Writer: Busayo Ige

Director: Yero Timi-Biu

Producers: Angela Moneke, Simon Hatton

Director of Photography: Nathalie Pitters

Production Designer: Phoebe Platman

Costume Designer: Cynthia Lawrence-John

Hair/Make-Up Designer: Bianca Simone Scott

Casting Director: Hannah Marie Williams

Editor: Galina Chakarova


Starring: Busayo Ige, Corinna Brown, Adrianna Bertola, Krysstina Frempong, Rebecca Dike, Craig Webb, Bruno Cryan, Charlie Baker, Dan Gaisford, Daniel Adeosun, with Tomi Egbowon-Ogunjobi, and Maisie Smith

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