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Sickle Cell theme movie, Strain to be released soon

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Adewunmi

Train, a feature film about a family that suddenly discovers that their young son has the sickle cell disease, will be released later in the year as production is at finishing stage.

Speaking at a parley with journalists in Ikeja, Lagos, the co-writer cum executive producer of the movie, Oluwatoyin Adewumi, said it was inspired by a true-life story. He added that it is an emotional roller coaster set to intrigue, entertain and educate its viewers.

He said, “The themes in the film cut across age, gender, ethnicity, race, social status and it will linger on the minds of viewers for a long time to come. It was conceptualized after hearing the near-miss story of a family.

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“During our research, we made a heart-wrenching discovery that about 150,000 children are still being born with the sickle cell disease annually in Nigeria. At that point, we knew that there was no going back on lending our voice to the prevention, management and cure of the disease through storytelling,” he added.

According to him, the first version of the script was written in July 2018, and several versions after. “We are finally confident that we have the right story that adequately blends entertainment, awareness and education.

Being able to tell human stories has been the core of my journey as a filmmaker and I am very glad that this particular project has once again given me that opportunity to do just that. The movie STRAIN is very close to my heart; it is apt that we are projecting such a story in a time where there is so much information out there, but people still make the same mistakes all over,” he added.

Adewunmi further stated that nearly 90 per cent of the world’s Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) population lives in three countries — Nigeria, India, and the Democratic Republic of Congo with Nigeria having the highest burden. He noted that one in four Nigerians is a carrier of the sickle cell gene.

Also speaking at the parley, the movie director, Uduak-Obong Patrick, said the producers of Charmed, has worked closely with the Sickle Cell Foundation Nigeria to produce this new movie.

He said, “We hope that the movie will not only capture the heart of our target audience but be a strong a reference for discussions on Sickle Cell Disease and genotype-match in general, when people in our target group need to make lifelong decisions.”

For Shushu Abubakar, who played the character of Yemi Ezeji in the movie, “Going through the script touched my emotional side. I became even more honoured to have been cast to play the role of Yemi, a loving wife and a caring mother of two, who struggles to create a balance between work and family even after the revelation of our son’s sickle cell health state.”

Commending the producers, Okey Uzoeshi, who played Nnamdi Ezeji, said he can’t applaud Verte View enough on the masterpiece, saying that a home filled with love can overcome any situation.

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“Children are suffering… children are dying. In the comfort of our daily routine, it is easy to forget or perhaps overlook certain truths; words that should fill us with horror, words that should trouble us, and keep us up at night. STRAIN is a film that casts a harsh light on the easily forgotten and often overlooked ugly truths of Sickle Cell Anaemia,” he said.

He stated that the movie is not necessarily a call to action, but a lesson, a reminder, and more importantly, a warning. “I believe everyone should see it as it bridges no gap in age, tribe, gender, or nationality. These genes (as my friend and colleague Tosyn Bucknor of the blessed memory, would say) are a problem that affects us all,” he added.

STRAIN enjoys a line up of talented cast made up of veterans, on-screen debuts and child actors such as Dr Alex Usifo, Gloria Anozie-Young, Bimbo Akintola, Okey Uzoeshi, Shushu Abubakar, Angel Onyi Unigwe, Nifemi Lawal, Enkay Ogboruche, Aproko Doctor amongst others.

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