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The Archive: Queer Nigerians

The Archive: Queer Nigerians

Simisolaoluwa Akande
United Kingdom
2023
25 min
International Premiere
Luminous
Synopsis

In Nigeria, homosexuality is punishable by 14 years of prison, and in some northern states, death by stoning. Those who wish to live and love in freedom would be better off fleeing the country. The five Nigerians on whose testimonies this moving, experimental documentary is based have settled in the UK. They record their biographies and thus their existence in an audio archive. Filmmaker Simisolaoluwa Akande portrays their words in a poetic collage of metaphors.

Bodies filmed from behind, traditional masked dancers, a figure behind a curtain—out of the shadows, they find their identity. They talk about the joy of being able to celebrate their queerness and live an authentic life, but underneath we also hear the sadness of the exile. Many have not come out to their parents and other relatives far away.

In one respect, Nigeria is more inclusive than England: in Yoruba, the language of one of Nigeria’s largest ethnic groups, there is no distinction between “he” and “she” but only “they.”

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Credits
25 min
color / black and white
DCP
Spoken languages: Yoruba, English
Director
    Simisolaoluwa Akande
    Simisolaoluwa Akande
Production
    Ermias Asfaw for Itan Film Limited,
    Maxine Gordon for Itan Film Limited,
    Joseph Bushell for Itan Film Limited
    Ermias Asfaw for Itan Film Limited,
    Maxine Gordon for Itan Film Limited,
    Joseph Bushell for Itan Film Limited
Cinematography
    Bea Macdonald
    Bea Macdonald
Editing
    Simisolaoluwa Akande,
    Joseph Bushell
    Simisolaoluwa Akande,
    Joseph Bushell
Sound Design
    Tori Daniels,
    Tope Olufemi
    Tori Daniels,
    Tope Olufemi
Screening copy
    25post
    25post

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