Category: Press Pack Article

10 min.|UK|2021

Directed by Akinola Davies

Written by Akinola Davies & Wale Davies

Produced by Fiona Lamptey



Starring Tai Golding, Samuel Oyenerin & Richard Ings


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Following their BAFTA-nominated short Lizard, brothers Akinola and Wale Davies’ latest collaboration stylishly reimagines the black immigrant experience in the mysterious and surreal film X US.



Two unaccompanied brothers embark on a journey to a new settlement on the moon planet Titan. Their interactions reflect the subtle naivety and anxious fear this huge moment means for each of them amidst an industrial sized group of migrants.


Production Story

Akinola credits Producer Fiona Lamptey and Associate Producer Samira Musa for bringing together a brilliant crew including HODs like XXX and Production Designer Bon Walsh, whose futuristic designs are particularly impressive for a short film and subtly give nods and pays homage to the much grander Sci-Fi films of the 1960s. Bon's work elevates the intimate story into another dimension, almost literally. They shot the film over three days at the LN-CC STORE, in Dalston, East London, utilising the store's layout to create the sparse boarding dock before migrants make their way to 'the new world'.


Shot on Kodak film by DOP Krzysztof Trojnar which was then elevated by Colourist Jason Wallis at Electric Theatre Collective. Post Crew Editor, Kit Jennings and Sound Designer CJ Mirra, who worked with Akinola and Wale on their Sundance-winning and BAFTA-nominated short film Lizard. Technicolour came on board once again to mix the wonderful sound design from CJ Mirra and the unsettling score from composer and musician Gil Schneider.


Shooting on film, complex lighting schemes, working with children and a large cast and crew was challenging against the backdrop of the worsening global pandemic and impending second UK national lockdown. This didn't take away from their desire and the responsibility they felt to work with a majority black and brown cast and crew. Casting Director Aisha Bywaters brought young actors Tai Golding (The Last Tree) and Samuel Oyeniran to the project, both perfectly capturing the brother relationship – admonishing and tender. Bywaters also cast Richard Dings as the disconcerting omnipresent ‘Big Brother’ leading and coercing the boys to their unknown future.






Cast (in order of appearance)


Frequent Media Presenter

Richard Ings

Shuttle Attendants

Ayano Yamamoto

Ocean Navaro


Tai Golding


Cosmo Oyeniran

Shuttle Presenter

Mary Cong

Young Woman

Rochelle Harvey

Man on Phone 

Elliot Rodriguez

Baby Aisha’s Father

Wale Davies

Baby Aisha

Amari Davies

Security Guard

Farouk Agoro


Tayi Artry

Selfie Couple

Arthur Artry


Errol Anderson


Alex Rita

Elder Lady

Lorna Anders






Associate Producer

Akinola Davies

Akinola & Wale Davies

Fiona Lamptey

Samira Musa

Director of Photography

Krzysztof Trojnar


Kit Jennings

1st Assistant Director

Jack Fontaine

Production Designer

Bon Walsh

Costume Designer

Azura Lovisa

Visual Effects Supervisor

Aubrey Ghanash

Production Sound Mixer

Malcolm Cromie

Sound Designer

CJ Mirra


Gil Schneider

Casting Director

Aisha Bywaters

Makeup Designer

Mata Mariélle

Hair Design & Supervision

Joyce Iwuozo

Script Supervisor

Angelica ‘Jelly’  Pressello

Post Production Supervisor

Grace Bridger










Tai Golding - Yele

Tai is best known for his role as Younger Femi in Shola Amoo’s The Last Tree and more recently the series The Third Day.


Cosmo Oyeniran - Mobo

Cosmo Oyeniran made a cameo appearance in British crime thriller The Intent II, which was released in 2018. X US sees Cosmo appearing in a lead role, which he hopes will be the first of many. Cosmo’s other interests include sports, drawing, music production and computer games.


Akinola Davies - Co-Writer/Director

Akinola Davies Jr is multi disciplined filmmaker, writer & video artist.His work is situated between West Africa and the UK as he identifies as a member of the global diaspora who is situated within the margins of being part of both worlds. Akinola tries to delicately navigate the collision of both colonial and imperial tradition and whilst advocating a return to indigenous narratives.He explores themes of community, race, spirituality, identity and gender, telling the stories that bridge the gap between traditional and millennial communities. These themes come with a duality: that of necessity and urgency in regards to the medium of storytelling. There is a large emphasis on a necessity for clear intention in concepts and a willingness to experiment with form: the preparation and meticulous research for his films assume a central role and are critical to his image manufacturing. He draws from aspects of collective, individual memory and lived experience. He has produced work for the BBC, Gucci, Kenzo, Valentino, LV and Victoria and Albert Museum as well as led initiatives with the Tate Modern, Ace Hotel, The Barbican Centre and the Design Museum and been profiled by leading publications such as US Vogue, British Vogue, Dazed Digital, Nowness and i-D Magazine. His debut short Lizard, which he co-wrote, premiered at London Film Festival 2020 and internationally at Sundance Film Festival 2021.


Wale Davies - Co-Writer

Wale Davies, also known as Tec, is a creative pioneer and figurehead of the independent music scene in Africa. As a musician entrepreneur, he is a record label owner, a production company owner, video and film director, and talent manager. The short film Lizard, which he co-wrote, premiered at London Film Festival 2020 and internationally at Sundance Film Festival 2021.


Fiona Lamptey - Producer

Fiona Lamptey is a producer and the newly appointed Director of U.K Features for Netflix. She graduated in Film and Video Production at the University of Bedfordshire in 2004 and shortly after got an offer from Channel4 to work on documentary, reality and live entertainment television. After five years in TV commissioning, she went to work for Channel4's feature film division Film4, where she helped manage low-budget and short film production. Always on the lookout for distinct British talent, Fiona set up her company Fruit Tree Media, where she remains founder and creative producer today. Her aim with Fruit Tree is to seek out filmmaking talent and use her industry experience to cultivate original storytelling and champion unrepresented voices within a structured and supportive framework. Fiona has served as a tutor and workshop facilitator for the National Film and Television School, a live event host for BAFTA and a mentor to new writing talent. Fiona has produced a number of distinctive and cross-disciplinary works and has been a support and launchpad for some of the UK’s most exciting talent. In 2019 she was named one of  Screen International’s Stars of Tomorrow and received a BFI Vision Award the following year.  As well as producing the mini sci-fi series for Film4 in 2020, Fiona also produced Debbie Tucker Green's much anticipated second feature film, Ear For Eye.


Samira Musa - Associate Producer

Samira Musa is a British-Somali film producer based in the UK. Her ambition is to uncover, produce and archive impact driven stories to fuel the next generation of leaders globally. AS well as working across all five of the films in Film4's Sci-Fi series, Samira was associate producer for Aisha and Abhaya, a co-production between The Royal Ballet and Rambert, in association with BBC Films and Robin Saunders. Samira’s film credits include Ear for Eye (production manager) written and directed by Debbie Tucker Green. Short film credits include Fate (producer), a British-Somali film challenging the pressure of weddings in the Somali community; The Cost of Bronze (executive producer), a film about a woman who refuses to be erased which was in official selection at Underwire Festival and also a semi-finalist at the Los Angeles CineFest. Her latest production accountant credits include Barbarians directed by Charlie Dofman and The Last Bus directed by Gillies MacKinnon, starring Timothy Spall. 


Krzysztof Trojnar - Cinematographer

Krzysztof Trojnar is a Polish cinematographer based in London. Having earned a bachelor's degree in Cinematography and Photography at University of Silesia in Poland (WRiTV), he moved to the UK in 2016 to attend the National Film and Television School for his masters in Film & Television. He was awarded by the Royal Television Society in UK for his cinematography on a short film 'Mia' directed by Maria Martinez Bayona, which was also nominated for best student short at Royal Television Society Awards 2017 and selected for 60th BFI London Film Festival. 'Mia' was also shortlisted for best short fiction at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) in 2016 and another short featuring Krzysztof's cinematography, 'The Wrong end of The Stick', was one of the eight films nominated in the same category the same year. Following graduation, Krzysztof has established his cinematography career continuing to produce celebrated work in narrative, commercials and music videos.  He has collaborated with prominent and up and coming directors such as Wilkins & Maguire, Rollo Jackson, Duncan Loudon, Weronika Tofilska, Leo Leigh,   Elena Petiti di Roreto , Joao Retorta,  and Raine Allen Miller working on numerous commercial projects for clients including Louis Vuitton, Adidas, Stella McCartney, Nike, Miu Miu, Zara, Love Magazine, Wallpaper, Dazed and Confused, i-D Magazine and Vogue Italia.


Aisha Bywaters - Casting Director

Aisha Bywaters started working in casting in 2007, working for Shaheen Baig for six years, assisting on numerous projects including films The Impossible, Starred Up, Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders. In 2015 she set up her own company, her credits as a casting director include Cyberbully (starring Maisie Williams), The Watchmen (starring Stephen Graham) and Enterprice (written by and starring Kayode Ewumi) for TV. Her film credits include Dirty God and The Last Tree (which both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2019). For her work on The Last Tree she was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for best casting alongside Shaheen Baig. Her upcoming projects include Channel 4 comedy Lady Parts written and directed by Nida Manzoor and feature film County Lines (which premiered at the 2019 BFI London Film Festival). In September 2020 Aisha was named one of Screen International's UK & Ireland Stars of Tomorrow.


Kit Jennings - Editor

Kit Jennings is a London-based film editor and co-founder of HAUS Pictures. His latest work, Lizard by Akinola Davies Jr, won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and received a BAFTA nomination for Best Short. Other shorts include Candy Floss starring Barry Keoghan, 78 On 79th scored by Goldie and starring Patrick Decile (Moonlight), Ladykiller starring Kerrie Hayes & Charlotte Spencer, X US for Film4, plus ELI and HOLY BEEF for Film London's London Calling slate.


CJ Mirra - Sound Designer

CJ Mirra is the alias of London-based composer, sound designer and recording artist, John Sampson. Combining live analogue instruments with electronic and ambient textures his sound blurs the boundaries of composition and sound design. Since 2015, he scored a number of critically-acclaimed films screened from BFI London Festival to SXSW, and received a BIFA ‘Best Sound' nomination in 2018. He scored the documentary feature, Nascondino (BFI IDFA), directed by Victoria Fiore, Mirra’s Recent projects include the score for Ruth Paxton’s debut feature, A Banquet. Mirra also worked on Lizard, the Sundance ‘Grand Jury’ prize winner and BAFTA nominated film, directed by Akinola Davies Jr. Other original scores include Tony Grisconi’s 2019 Sands of Venus, Benjamin Wigley’s Paa Joe The Lion, as well as Ruth Paxton’s Be Still My Beating Heart. In 2018, Mirra received a British Independent Film Award nomination for ‘Best Sound’ for his Ground-breaking work on documentary feature, Time Trial, directed by Finlay Pretsell.


Gil Schneider - Composer

Swiss born Gil Schneider is a composer, producer and DJ living and working in Berlin. Since graduating from their studies in contemporary classical composition at the Bern University of Arts in 2016, they have released three internationally acclaimed EPs, created a solo live concert and production commissioned by and performed at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and toured internationally across cities such as Berlin, London, Shanghai, Milano, Seoul, and Cairo. Their scoring work appears on Akinola Davies’ BBC production “Black to Life: Rethinking the Black Presence within British History”, Sonja Jokiniemi’s dance piece “ÖH” and the not yet premiered reinterpretation of Wagner’s “Ring des Nibelungen” at the Schauspielhaus Zürich. Their interest in and exploration of electronic composition is best heard on their two records “Infolding” and “Orchids & Wasps” released on Danse Noire. Their latest EP “Storm Salon” was released on Berlin based experimental label Yegorka and comprises three modern classical pieces for Piano, Violin, and Cello.


Azura Lovisa - Costume Designer

Azura Lovisa is a fashion designer, artist, and writer exploring hybridity and transcultural flows while crafting a contemporary mythology people can inhabit. She studied Womenswear at Central Saint Martins and earned experience at Balenciaga and Peter Pilotto before launching her own label. Drawing from her Malaysian-Swedish heritage and her experience growing up in Miami, Azura’s work and research is rooted in storytelling and spans across archives and hidden histories, folklore, the esoteric, ecology, postcolonialism, and critical theory. In her design work she creates an otherworldly wardrobe for international identities with a focus on multiculturalism, sensuous materiality, mindful craftsmanship, sustainability and holistic harmony with the earth.


Mata Marielle - Makeup Designer

Mata Marielle is a London-based make-up artist who started working in the beauty industry in 2017. Her work has been featured in prestigious publications such as Vogue, Dazed and Confused, Paper Magazine, TheFader, and more. Marielle specialises in make-up for editorials, music videos, look books, campaigns, press shots, studio shoots and more. She also has a growing clientele of up-and-coming music artists. Mata Marielle has ventured into candle-making, running candle line Candles and That’ and her newest venture is her cosmetics line, MATALABS, birthed from her passion for equality in make-up.

Grace Bridger - Post Production Supervisor

Originally from Perth, Western Australia, London based Producer Grace Bridger works across independent short films and features. Grace has produced a number of projects alongside Writer/Director Runyararo Mapfumo as Dessymak Productions. Their short film Masterpiece premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2017 and finished the festival circuit with over a dozen official selections and nominations. She went on to develop and produce Dawn In The Dark supported by BBC Films and BFI NETWORK which premiered at BFI London Film Festival 2019. Grace then Produced Runyararo's BBC and Google Arts commissioned short Sensational Simmy which was released and broadcast on BBC and BBC iPlayer. Grace developed and secured funding from Uncertain Kingdom for Runyararo's documentary What’s In A Name? before handing over the project to another producer during her relocation to Bradford to work as Production Secretary on Clio Barnard's BBC Films and BFI supported feature film, Ali & Ava. This was part of her on-going work with producer Tracy O'Riordan at Moonspun Films as Producer's Assistant and then Assistant Producer. Previously through these roles Grace worked in post production on Hong Khaou's Monsoon and assisted Producer Tracy O'Riordan during the production of Film4's Dream Horse, starring Toni Collete and Damien Lewis. After working with Producer Fiona Lamptey (BFI Vision Award Winner) as Post Production Supervisor on the Sci-Fi short films, Grace moved into the role of Creative Assistant at Netflix in the newly formed UK Features team supporting Fiona.