The long awaited short film, 'It Happened To Me' written and produced by late film maker, Amaka Igwe in conjunction with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been released for viewing.
The 15-minute film, directed by renowned writer cum director Chris Ihidero, is based on real life events.
Dike, a 23-year-old apprentice trader based in Abuja, is the leading light among the youths of his community somewhere in Eastern Nigeria. His long time girlfriend Sochima is the village belle.
Sochima and her younger sister Ebere die within six months of each other and the community is convinced that their inexplicable deaths and those of a few others in the community are due to Ogbanje.
However, Kene, Dike’s best friend and 3 year student of Laboratory Science at the state university, is curious about his best friend’s sudden weight loss and convinced that Ogbanje has nothing to do with the recent deaths in the community.
The film was shot in Umuada Community of Udi Local Government Area, Enugu State, where Amaka Igwe’s family hails from, and features upcoming acts like Tochukwu Okafor, Desmond Onunwa, Jane Obi and Chidinma Igweani.
While speaking about the film, Ihidero explained that the importance of the film's message comes to fore seeing the prevailing ignorance that still persists among youth despite the efforts made at spreading knowledge and information about HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
“It is shocking to know that despite the sensitisation and information that has been going on about the HIV virus, a lot of people still ascribe HIV/AIDS to evil forces.
Some go to churches and other religious/spiritual places, instead of treatment centres. These are the kind of issues 'It Happened To Me' seeks to address”, he said.
The film was originally premiered at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in November 2013 and is now being premiered online in commemoration of the first anniversary of Amaka Igwe’s passing.
Ihidero says: “This was a very personal film for Amaka Igwe. She based the story on actual events that happened in her community. We shot parts of the film in her family compound.
Many of the actors, apart from the four lead characters, are her family members. Except for the DOP, she trained every single crewmember that worked on this film. This was the last film she produced and I feel honoured to have directed it.”
'It Happened to Me' is produced as part of the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) project of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) aimed at strengthening youth involvement with HIV and AIDS prevention activities in Nigeria using culturally appropriate strategies.