UK producer and director, Joe Cohen, is crowdfunding The Boy from Mushin, a feature-length documentary telling the story of Bisi Alimi, a man who risked everything by coming out live on TV in his native Nigeria. Find out below how YOU can help this amazing project come to fruition.
In 2004, when the president of Nigeria claimed that there were ‘no gays in Nigeria’, Funmi Iyanda, interviewed Bisi Alimi about his sexuality on her popular television show, New Dawn. The fury that followed tore Bisi’s world apart – alienating him from his family and friends and subjecting him to years of hateful attacks. Funmi’s show was pulled off air, and Bisi’s proud declaration was debated in Parliament.
Bisi left Nigeria an exile and arrived in London a refugee. From the streets of Mushin, one of the poorest slums of Lagos, Nigeria, he has become one of Africa’s most prominent human rights activists. The Boy from Mushin tells his story: following him as he returns to Nigeria for the first time ever since he was exiled almost 8 years ago.
This is a film not only about a courageous man trying to change the world, but a window into the lives of other courageous gay men and women that are fighting tirelessly for acceptance and equality across Africa. It tells a complex story where race, gender, sexuality and populist politics intersect in Nigeria – a story that affects the lives of African LGBTQ+ people, but also has an impact in the global north, from conducting business in Nigeria, to tourism and issues of immigration where LGBTQ+ people are concerned.
There has never been a better time to be part of this film. Whilst immigration is on the top of the world’s agenda, it’s crucial that stories of people behind the media headlines are told.
HOW WILL THE FUNDING BE USED?
All the money raised from this crowdfunding will go directly into production and postproduction costs for the film. It will enable the team to:
- Complete the principal filming, through crew (camera operator, sound recordist, fixer), and equipment hire.
- Pay for travel, flights and accommodation (for reasons of safety and visas, unfortunately the team can not give exact details).
- Pay for insurance cover.
- Pay for an editor on an 8-week edit that can be presented to broadcasters and distributors.
The team has chosen the fixed method of funding, whereby if they do not reach their target, they will lose what has been pledged. This is to ensure that they can complete the filming and that your generous support doesn’t go to waste. Their funding target is the very minimum they need to achieve this. In the event of the team not meeting their target, your pledges will be refunded. If the exceed target is exceeded, the extra will be used for postproduction costs such as a sound design and musical composition fees.
So far, the documentary has been self-funded to the amount of £10,000. This has been spent on crew / equipment hire and travel / accommodation. The project’s volunteer team is also fundraising separately through traditional routes, such as foundation funding and broadcasters, so that they can raise a budget for marketing and salaries.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Please spread the word! Join in the #theboyfrommushin campaign and share details of the project with friends, relatives, colleagues, businesses and charities. Every share or email sent will be vital if the team are to reach their target.
There are several exciting rewards on offer for generously supporting the film, including signed copies of the film, limited framed posters, an invitation to a private screening with an opportunity to meet Bisi, and a Q&A panel on LGBTQ+ and human rights.
A CAMPAIGN AROUND THE FILM
Recently, an anti-gay law was passed in Nigeria that not only criminalises same sex relationships by up to 14 years in prison, but also anyone who does not report a known homosexual. This law is killing people every day. In Uganda, the international community stood up and fought the Kill The Gays Bill, which has now been repealed. Through this film, the team wish to create international awareness in the fight against this law, so that LGBTQ+ and all citizens of Nigeria will be able to live free from persecution because of their identity. We can change history.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
Joe Cohen is a documentary producer and director. After graduating from the University of Bristol, he worked developing series for major broadcasters including the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, Sky and Discovery network. He trained at the UK National Film and Television School, after which he was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus. His entry film Stepping Out was in official selection at the London Short Film Festival, ReelOut Canada, and was nominated for the documentary award at the Rushes Soho Shorts Film Festival. His film Northern Cross was screened at the British Council Film Festival, Moscow, and the International Student Film Festival. His recent film collaboration with Michael Clark Company for Pringle of Scotland screened at the Serpentine Gallery, London, the National Museum of Scotland and at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. He has directed films for VICE Media, Human Rights Watch, Old Vic Theatre and i-D magazine. Throughout his undergraduate course at the University of Bristol, Joe was the LGBT Union Officer as well as the president of the Student Action for Refugees Society. The Boy from Mushin is Joe’s first feature length film.
So, what are you waiting for? We have until 12pm on Monday 21 March to make The Boy from Mushin happen.
Click here to pledge and then share the link far and wide. Spread the word!
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