Upcoming Nigerian Film, ‘Country Love’, Explores The Queer Identity, Finding Peace And Self Love

Upcoming Nigerian Film, ‘Country Love’, Explores The Queer Identity, Finding Peace And Self Love

Directed by Wapah Ezeigwe, Country Love is an upcoming short film that tells the story about a homosexual young man, Kambili (played by Kelechi Michael), who returns home after fifteen years to discover that there is no reason for him to stay. Also part of the cast are Kambili’s estranged sister, Nneka (Uzoamaka Onuoha) and his boyhood lover, Ifediora (Divine Ahiwe).

Country Love revolves around the subject of home, sexuality and love, attempting to redefine the concept of home for a queer person, which is that home may never be someplace where we have blood families but rather where we have and can find peace of mind in who we are.

One of the things that was important to the director Ezeigwe regarding this film was the portrayal of the effeminate Kambili as someone who surmounts and transcends predicaments that plague his identity.

“It was important to me to portray a femme character who overcomes,” Ezeigwe says, “because we often overlook the strength it takes for men who are effeminate to exist in this society. In fact, during the production of this film, it was mostly the femme queers who lent their support, drive and ideas to make this project an accomplished one. One of the challenges I encountered with making the film was getting actors to commit to the project. And for the character of Ifediora – who is masculine presenting – I had masculine queer actors and heterosexual actors turn the role down because of the intimacy they’d be required to portray in the story.”

Ezeigwe, who identifies as nonbinary, says that the actors who turned down the role of Ifediora wanted them to remove the intimacy scenes from the script, but they resisted.

“It would not only be inauthentic to talk about queer love without actually showing it,” they say, “but changing the script is something I’d see as the stifling of my creativity as a filmmaker.”

In the end, Ezeigwe says that it was mostly the femmes who contributed largely to the success of the film.

The film’s production was ultimately a community effort, as Ezeigwe talks about wanting only queer people to be involved. “I believe it is important, especially in the entertainment industry and storytelling business, to give roles to queer people where the stories being told are queer stories. These are our lived-in experiences, and while there’s nothing wrong with straight people being involved in our stories, I always opt for considering community members first.”

Other challenges include the funding of the project and the prevarications that had to be told to mislead non-community members involved tangentially with the project, because leading with the truth would most certainly guarantee that these people wouldn’t lend their assistance.

“I told the man who was providing one location for us that we were making a film about two friends,” they recollect with a laugh. They also admits with some sadness that whilst there are abundant and rich queer stories waiting to be told, the circumstances of the Nigerian society’s behaviour toward its queer community will continue to make it difficult for these stories to get told.

“But we have to keep telling them, no matter what,” they say. “We have to tell these stories and put them out there as a way of changing society’s perspective on the queer community. Art is a means through which change can happen.”

Information about the release date of Country Love is TBA. But below is a teaser trailer.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Gaia
    October 07, 08:42 Reply

    Outstanding Wapah everytime……

  2. Ade
    October 07, 09:12 Reply

    wow!! kudos mehn….I’m speechless

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