First Nigerian Movie On Lesbians Set To Go Online To Avoid Ban From Censorship Board

Nigerian first movie-themed on lesbians is set to hit online soon in order to avoid any possible ban from Nigerian authorities owing to its controversial nature. The movie dubbed ‘Ife’ is centered on lesbians who are deeply in love with each other.

Producer Pamela Adie said “Ife” – which means “love” in the Yoruba language widely spoken in southwest Nigeria – would be released online to avoid any possible move by censors to ban it. “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, who declined to provide a release date.

The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) did not respond to requests for comment. A trailer released online in July shows the women discussing their love and, as one character phrased it, the fear of being forced to choose between your family and happiness. “The role of the 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,” said Adie.

Nobody has yet been convicted under the law banning same-sex relationships, which came into effect in 2014. But the case of 47 men charged last year with public displays of affection is being closely watched. Many people in Nigeria are socially conservative and some religious groups brand same-sex relationships as a corrupting Western import.

Gay rights activists say the law has been used to extort bribes in exchange for not pursuing charges. Despite the fear that the law engenders, Uzoamaka Aniunoh – one of the actors – said “Ife” offers a glimpse into the everyday lives of people in same-sex relationships. “I don’t feel like it is bold. I feel like it is ordinary,” she said.

Additional text from Reuters was used in this report. Photo used in this story is strictly for illustrative purpose only.

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