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Discovering I’m ‘A Stranger in My Family’

Updated On: March 26, 2024

In this surprise-filled episode of Family Twist, we dive into filmmaker Luke Davies’ compelling journey of self-discovery, ignited by the results of a home DNA test. Raised in Rochdale, England, Luke grew up believing he was white British, only to have a DNA test in his 20s reveal a rich tapestry of ancestral backgrounds, including West African, Portuguese, and more. This unexpected revelation leads Luke on a quest to find his biological father, a journey documented in the BBC documentary, “A Stranger in My Family.”

What You’ll Learn:

  • How Luke’s DNA test results shattered his lifelong perceptions of his identity.
  • The emotional and psychological impact of discovering one’s racial and ethnic heritage later in life.
  • Luke’s process of approaching his mother for the truth, leading to the revelation of a holiday romance in Portugal.
  • The challenges and complexities of searching for a biological parent with limited information.
  • The role of commercial DNA testing in connecting Luke with distant relatives and ultimately his biological father.
  • Luke’s exploration into filmmaking as a medium to document and navigate his journey.
  • Insights into Luke’s current projects and how his personal journey has influenced his work and passion for telling stories of marginalized voices.

Episode Highlights:

  • [00:05:22] – Luke’s initial reaction to his DNA test results and the moment of revelation with his mother.
  • [00:12:35] – The intricate dynamics of Luke’s family relationships following the discovery.
  • [00:19:58] – The challenges and breakthroughs in Luke’s search for his biological father.
  • [00:27:44] – Luke’s transition from TV work to documentary filmmaking amid personal upheaval.
  • [00:34:17] – The serendipitous events leading Luke to take the DNA test and start his quest.
  • [00:42:55] – The impact of Luke’s journey on his professional life and the development of new film projects.

Guest bio: 

Luke Oliveira-Davies (He/Him) is an interdisciplinary Creative Producer and the Founder of Polari, an award-winning production company that champions the boundlessness of queer and intersectional lives through film, television, and more.

His short films have premiered and collected awards from BAFTA and BIFA-Qualifying festivals around the world, and his latest short ‘Run(a)way’ received funding from the BFI Short Film Fund.

Luke’s debut documentary, Stranger in My Family, which he initially developed and produced, won the BBC Three Northern Docs Pitch at Sheffield Doc Fest (2022). It has been longlisted in the ‘Single Documentary’ category at the BAFTA Television Awards (2024), and received a ‘Best Documentary Programme’ nomination at the Broadcast Awards (2024).

The film is out now on BBC iPlayer as a Nine Lives Media production, in association with Polari.

Luke’s work extends beyond Polari, including working as a Assistant Producer on Savage Waters, a multi-award-winning documentary by Emmy-winning director Mikey Corker, which released in UK and Ireland cinemas in 2023/24.

Luke is a BAFTA Connect member and is currently taking part in the Momentum program from We Are Parable x Sony Pictures Television & Channel 4, as well as the Thrive Freelance Development Programme from Creative Access x Lee & Thompson. Luke is also alumni of the BFI Creative Producers Lab (2019), and was nominated for an RTS Futures Award (2020) for his 48-hr short film Tomorrow

Additionally, he was a finalist for Young Person in Business at the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards (2022), and was longlisted for a Northern Gamechangers Award (2023).

Luke has received funding from BAFTA, Creative UK, Screenskills, and the Film & TV Charity to support his growth as an entrepreneur and filmmaker.

Luke is currently in development on his next short film as a Writer/Director (Anklet), as well as Polari’s first feature film projects.

Luke is a co-founder of the Queer Filmmakers Network CIC and ORIGINS: The Short Film Night.

Resources Mentioned:

  • “A Stranger in My Family” – BBC documentary featuring Luke Davies.
  • DNA testing services (23andMe, Ancestry.com) – Tools that played a crucial role in Luke’s discovery.

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Transcript
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