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The Joint EU-UN Spotlight Initiative, UNDP and FRED Unveil Trailer for  New Movie on Gender-Based Violence

The Joint European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and in partnership with the Foundation for Resilient Empowerment and Development (FRED),  is set to release a Nigerian Film which addresses the protracted issue of Gender-Based Violence, GBV, to the viewing public. The film titled “Deafening Silence” is a Feature Length Feature Film, comprising 8 Episode Limited Series, and  44 Episode TV Series.

The Trailer of this Star-studded Film which seeks to spark deep conversations and create further awareness-around gender social norms and its challenges and the societal impact of GBV on women and girls, was unveiled to the media and key stakeholders on Tuesday, December 5, 2023,  at the United Nations, UN, Auditorium, Abuja. It highlights critical and important aspects of the movie that will keep Nigerians on edge, agitate their mind, and evoke important lessons about GBV issues in our society. It showed moments of reflection, sober mood, anger, and scenes that will stimulate the peoples unwavering support and resolution to join hands in the fight against the scourge.

In his opening address at the trailer reveal, the Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP, Mr. Blessed Chimrimuta said that the collaboration of the EU-UN, UNDP, and FRED with the Spotlight Initiative aligns seamlessly with the plans of the government of Nigeria and the EU-UN Gender Action Points. “This intervention” he said, “seeks to challenge and reshape prevailing gender norms not only in Nigeria but beyond.” He admonished the participants at the event to reflect on the significance of the transformative journey we are embarking on. He reminded the audience that “Deafening Silence is not just a movie for entertainment,” but according to him, “It is a movie in search to deliver a compelling and thought-provoking moments that will serve as a catalyst for sparking wider conversation around gender inequality, and gender violence, against women.”

The UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mattias Schmale, in his own remark expressed satisfaction for being part of the intervention against GBV, which is a priority for his organisation. He emphasised the need to find better ways of communicating and engaging the people on the issue of gender-based violence. He said that there is need to produce more films based on tackling the issues of human rights – which is relevant today as it was seventy five years ago. He reiterated that human rights of vulnerable people including women and children, particularly girls, should be protected.

L-R: Mr. Charles Ebuebe, DG, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC; First Lady, Wife of Abia State Governor, Mrs. Chioma Otti; Deputy Head of Missiom, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Zissimos Vergos; First Lady, Wife of the Governor of Katsina state, Hajia Fatima Radda; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Nkiruka Onyejeocha; United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Matthias Schmale and Wife of the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Aisha Bagudu; and Mr. Blessed Chimrimuta, UNDP, Deputy Resident Representative, during the Agenda for the Official Cast Unveiling ”Deafening Silence” in Abuja.

The Deputy Head of Mission, EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Zissimos Vergos, emphasized that gender based violence is a global problem. He said that there is evidence to show that one in every three women out there is subjected to physical, sexual, or any other form of violence, in their lifetime. He affirmed that in the 21st century gender inequality remains among the key drivers of poverty and this undermines cohesion and balance in our society.

The Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Mr. Charles Ebuebe commended Spotlight Initiative and the partners and collaborators who joined forces to conceive and work on this project. He promised to stand behind the partners on the project and pledged to give all the necessary support within his jurisdiction. He frowned at a situation where people who suffer gender-based violence shy away from speaking up against abuse because of sociocultural reasons. He also talked about the challenges of none or ineffective laws to tackle the problem frontally.

In her overview of the Film “Deafening Silence” Onyinye Belinda Ndubuisi, UNDP Gender and Human Rights Lead, said that “The title “Deafening Silence” has been carefully chosen to encapsulate the profound paradox inherent in the issues, the movie and television series aim to address: Gender Equality, Gender Empowerment, and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).” She further stated that this film is to showcase to the world the transformative result chain Intervention Nigeria is capable of doing. “ Anchoring on the UNDP Human Development Report on Gender and Social Norms, there is need to showcase what we are doing global.

We know that there are different types of gender-based violence, and we also understand that to change norms requires time – so it is not an overnight venture. This is why we are starting with a 5-Year plan,  and also to call on all our partners to come together for collaboration rather than fragmenting our efforts.” She said that Deafening Silence is an exciting and captivating Drama project that aims to deliver an immersive and compelling cinematic experience to its audience. The project story revolves around spotlighting the issues, challenges, and victories surrounding survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and spotlighting all factors relating to GBV.

According to Onyinye, the film is weaved “Through a carefully crafted narrative and dynamic characters, as the project intends to engage viewers emotionally and intellectually, leaving a lasting impact. The aim, she said, is to capture the imagination and attention of the target audience, providing an enthralling and memorable viewing experience, while spotlighting the vices surrounding GBV.” She added that, “The project is committed to achieving a high level of artistic quality, utilizing innovative storytelling techniques, exceptional cinematography, and engaging performances.”

Fielding questions from reporters at the event, she said that, “The project is a splendid pointer to a public investment through meaningful storytelling that showcases various instances of abuse and injustice, such as rape, human trafficking, forced surrogacy, blackmail, and marital abandonment. It highlights the role of agencies in helping victims seek justice and support.”

The Film directed by Biodun Stephen Stars the Best of Nollywood – including but not limited to Toni Tones, Kate Henshaw, Femi Jacobs, Daniel Etim Effiong, Chidi Mokeme, and Bimbo Akintola. Others in the Blockbuster Film are Debby Felix and Ekamma Etim-Inyang. It also features Abiodun Adebayo as the Editor; Biodun Stephen as  Director; and Eemem Isong Misodi as Producer.

The movie which tells the horrible story of the social impact of GBV and its effect on people, families, and society in general, will be available in cinemas and selected TV stations as a series. The main aim is to inform, educate, and curb the issue of Gender-Based Violence in Nigeria.

To watch the official trailer, click here: https://youtu.be/oU9haak5kC8

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