Chatroom premieres at Wheatbaker
Recently, high net worth guests, including the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Pauline Tallen; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), Chizor Malize; women leaders, actors, comedians, journalists and others stormed the highbrow facility, Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, for the premiere of Chatroom, a movie set against the background of a reality television show.
The contemporary 98-minute star-studded movie boasts of award-winning actors such as Tony Umez, Omawumi Megbele, Akpororo, Odunlade Adekola, Rykardo Agbor, Sambasa Nzeribe, Vivian Anani, Ibrahim Suleiman, and is produced by Peju Ibekwe with Adesuwa Onyenokwe as its associate producer.
The movie also stars Canada-trained actor, Nengi Adoki and Israeli actor, singer and dancer, Ronya Man; Ghanaian actor, Kobby Acheampong, the Camerounian actor and dancer, Lea Dibebe, actor and author, Damilare Kuku and many others.
The movie aimed at deploying a voice to transform society and end gender-based violence, among others.
Written and directed by Chike Ibekwe, the film, which is inspired by true life events, tells the story of Ebiere, who enters a dancing reality show to escape the haunting ghost of her past. Fate, however, has other plans for her as the experiences in the house blow up in her face with far reaching consequences.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, the movie tells a very relatable story, which has embedded in it, subjects of envy to admiration, resilience in the midst of pain, fear of trusting, denial to acceptance, love notwithstanding hurts, hope for a better future; all of these are beautifully crafted in the narrative making it an audience’s delight, while addressing these critical issues. It also gives them a peek into what happens behind the scenes of a reality television show, which audiences do not usually get to see.
Akpororo and Odunlade spare no emotion as they give their best in this first of its kind movie with their comical expressions, which will leave viewers reeling with laughter intermittently as well as take in the essence of the movie. Adesuwa Onyenokwe also appears in a cameo role for the first time in a Nigerian movie doing her thing.
Speaking at the premiere, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, who was represented by the Director, Gender Affairs in the ministry, Mrs. Friya Kimde Bulus, in a key note address, said that the sustenance of gender equality perspectives should be coordinated in the plans, projects and programmes of government, adding that the event could not have come at a better time than now.
According to her, the demise of popular music singer, Mrs. Osinachi Nwachukwu, is a sad reminder of the issue of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country.
“As you are all aware, the issues of GBV have been on the increase in Nigeria, with the latest being the death of the popular gospel singer, late Mrs. Osinachi Nwachukwu,” the minister said.
She expressed delight to be part of the premiere of Chatroom and commended the organisers for a job well done, adding that this will be geared toward meeting the targets of gender mainstreaming into policies across the country.
The movie director and scriptwriter, Ibekwe noted that he chose to write a story of hope, rather than that of silence and misery that most victims of sexual abuse go through. He also emphasised that help can be available, and that all people have to do is to look at the right places.
The premiere also featured the launch of the virtual CHATROOM on the movie website, www.chatroomthemovie.com, a safe place where victims of abuse or mental health issues can break their silence and get needed help. The CHATROOM can be accessed as a guest, that is, anonymously, for those that do not want to disclose their identity. The Nigerian Institute of Counsellors supports the counselling on the Chatroom, while the toll-free line and cases that need additional attention beyond counselling ranging from medical to legal cases will be supported by Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF).
According to the UNHCR, Gender-Based Violence refers to harmful acts directed at an individual based on their gender. It is rooted in gender inequality, the abuse of power and harmful norms.
Gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious violation of human rights and a life-threatening health and protection issue. During displacement and times of crisis, the threat of GBV significantly increases for women and girls.