ANigerian film centering on lesbian love is all set to go online to avoid a possible ban by the country’s censorship board.
Produced by Pamela Adie, “Ife” is a take on a subject that’s considered controversial in Nigeria, with same-sex relationships punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Adie told Reuters that the decision to release “Ife” online was to stop the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) from possibly banning the film.
“I really feel that the censors board is playing a big part in stopping these kinds of stories from coming to the big screen… and it is just really stifling creativity,” said Adie.
“Ife,” which means “love” in the Yoruba language that’s widely spoken in southwest Nigeria, revolves around the lives of same-sex couple Ife and Adaora and the challenges of being lesbians in the country.
In 2014, Nigeria’s then-president, Goodluck Jonathan, signed a law that banned gay marriage, membership of gay rights groups and same-sex public display of affection.
The NFVCB did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.
A trailer for “Ife” was released last month that featured the protagonists talking about their plans to have children and discussing their relationship.
“The role of film is not to say ‘this is right, or not’. I think that the role of film, and a filmmaker, is to portray reality as it is,” Adie said.
Uzoamaka Aniunoh, one of the stars of “Ife,” said the movie was about the everyday lives of same-sex couples.
“I don’t feel like it is bold. I feel like it is ordinary,” she said.
A release date for the film has yet to be decided, but Adie has ruled out releasing the film on YouTube.
“It’s not going to be on YouTube, we are building our own platform where people can pay to watch movies like an on-demand streaming platform,” Adie told Premium Times. “Maybe if Netflix decides to show it after a year of release, why not? For now, we don’t plan to release it on any other site.”
She continued, “I intend to make more films that center on stories about LGBTQ people, particularly Nigerian lesbian, bisexual, and queer women.”