Unspoken… creating awareness on sexuality, maternal mortality
As part of efforts aimed at driving better understanding and awareness on youth sexuality and maternal mortality in Nigeria, a feature film, Unspoken, was launched in Lagos recently, with the producer calling on broadcasters to ensure that the film get aired across the country. The film was produced by Singing Tree Films with support from Ford Foundation.
Unspoken is a drama based on the experiences of two teenage Nigerian girls from different backgrounds as they experience sex for the first time under different circumstances that led to health complications and serious negative effects on their physical and psychological wellbeing.
The film takes a provocative look at the life-threatening reality of adolescents getting pregnant in Nigeria, revealing the girls’ struggles with gender, pregnancy, abortion and childbirth issues and the corresponding challenges faced by husbands, boyfriends and families, who have to deal with their own hopes, frustrations and fears.
The film, directed by Remi Vaughan Richards and produced by Chichi Uzuegbu Ikpeama, featured a Nollywood stars Ufuoma Ejenobor, Funky Mallam and Gregory Ojefua and some brilliant new talent like Yingi-Cent Harry as Grace and 13 year old Zainab Mohammed as Halima.
Programme Officer, Ford Foundation, Paul Nwulu said that his organisation supported the project because it understands the power of visual storytelling in driving social change. “This film today is an example of how a well told story can address some of the issues we face in our society today. We hope this film will educate, inform and entertain the audience and are happy to partner with Singing Tree Productions on this project.” Nwulu prayed that everyone will get on board in ensuring that the film reaches all parts of the country.
Commenting on the film, the Director, Remi Vaughan Richards stated that it is a story that needs to be told as parents, youth and every member of the society should be aware of the emotional and health risks of early sex and pregnancy in young girls. For him, though the story is based in Nigeria, the message cut across continents.
Also, a Gynecologist and Medical Director of Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Dr Ajoke Ashiru, said that the film could not have come at a better time than now more so when the MDG year is about to end and not much has been achieved.
The Producer of the film, Chichi Ikpeama said that the film was a product of a rigorous research process, from desk to audience research with gynaecologists providing important health expertise and local and international script consultants helping ascertain that the film resonate with the public.
“Unspoken will be touring 18 communities in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria from the month of October on a broader communications campaign to urge the private, public and civil society sectors to take critical action on reducing Nigeria’s maternal mortality rate, to save the lives and future of the Nigerian youth and to achieve sustainable development. A Hausa language version of the film was produced to ensure that the content resonates and is well received by the audience in Northern Nigeria.”