Josephine Anumbor is a movie producer, presenter and child activist whose passion for the well-being of young people is a major driving force in her life. In this interview with Anthony Ada Abraham, she talks about her new film and why Nigerians and the world must watch it.
What’s the title of your new movie and what is it about?
The title of the movie is Searching. It focuses on the travails and abuse women face in their lives. Looking at society today you will see many young people who have been abused in one way or the other. That is why this movie was made so people can rise up against such an abuse.
How did you find the cast of the film?
The characters were drawn from various spheres, like the likes of Yemi Blaq because we were looking for a perfect gentleman. And the role Eucharia Anunobi played, you know some time ago in this country people like her played strong roles, so that she could guide the younger ones on how to correct the past in whatever they do. She came in to help them to find skills and lead them out of the streets. She was able to tell some of them that it’s not nice to be a prostitute, to be on the streets or even to sell your body. The movie will premiere on November 26th and the stars would be on hand to grace the event. Others that will be there include those who believe in the protection of the girl child. That was how we were able to come up with the characters. For the other ones, we did mass auditions in Abuja, Kaduna and Warri because we wanted to do something a little bit different and we were very happy about the kind of cast we got.
In the movie, you chronicled the past with the kind of scenes you portrayed, what were you trying to say? And was it shot in Zaria?
No, Kaduna. Yes you could see that there’s a long time span in different occurrences. The start of the movie was set a long time ago. I started writing this movie 19 years ago.
Talking about social vices like rape, how do you think the movie will help in sending across a message to viewers?
Anyone watching the movie will see how bad it is. We wanted to show the rapist themselves how animalistic they are. Now if we wanted to provide answers to all of the questions, we will probably have 10 parts to the movie. What we succeeded in doing is to show how bad it really is. Now if anyone who is involved in raping women sees this movie, I’m sure he will not want to continue with the act.
Do you think offenders should be punished?
You see, let me tell you something, punishment doesn’t necessarily stop people from doing the wrong things they do. What punishment does is, when nobody is looking and they have the freedom to do what they want to do, they will do it and escape. But then if you are able to see it for yourself that this thing is bad, you will be able to stop it yourself rather than someone telling you to.
Apart from producing movies, what else is your organisation into?
Love to the World is into lots of things. We are into music with songs like Where do we run to and Heal the land, all of that is our contribution to the society. We have organised workshops for over 150 people, especially the youth to leave the streets. Some went into tailoring, welding, fishery, aluminium works and tiling. You will be surprised that so many of them have started up their own businesses today while others have left the streets because of our counselling. We also visited the juvenile prisons too because we discovered that some parents got fed up with their children and sent them there. One young man said that when he came out of the prison, he was sure he was going to be worse, until we met and counselled him. We use storytelling, drama and things that you can see to tell you what you are and when he saw that, he wrote us a song at the end of the day. So those are the kinds of things Love to the World have also been embarking on.
Aside what the movie is trying to show to the public, do you think we have enough laws to really stop people from indulging in these practices?
I think there are existing laws, but I believe there should be stricter laws and the implementation must be followed through to serve as a deterrent to people from engaging in these violent crimes in the society. But aside the laws, there is the need for enlightenment because if you have a headache and you keep on taking drugs for it without looking for the cause of the headache, you will keep on taking the drugs. It is like holding a balloon and trying to sink it inside the water, it won’t work until the air is deflated. I believe that there should be more enlightenment so that the people who indulge in these acts can change their mind.
The movie has been premiered in Nigeria and has been released in both London and Nigeria, how do you feel and what are your expectations?
Yes it was an awesome feeling. People were on hand to support the movie in London. “Searching….the story of a girl child” is written and produced by my humble self. It stars Yemi Blaq, Gordons, Eucharia Anunobi and introducing Charity Nnodi and Suzzan Emmanuel. The movie is now showing at Silverbird cinemas, Abuja and Uyo, Ozone cinema, Lagos, Viva cinema, Illorin and Kada cinema, Benin. The movie is a must watch! The movie premiere witnessed a great turnout on March the 18th in London despite the cold weather. It was another moment where Nollywood stars and fans across the UK, Nigeria and other parts of Africa flocked in to reunite and show off their beautiful looks and dresses on red carpet.
Those who saw the movie said I showed my strength, creative style and skills in the outline and casting of the movie which captured the viewer’s emotion in the cinema; the night atmosphere was a mixture of tears seeing Oghal living without hope and future. Searching is a true life story of a girl who was born and grew up in Delta State, Nigeria; who suffered parental care and love; abandoned by her parents due to domestic violence, she was forced into the street; married at the age of 14 without formal education or training. It is just a must watch.