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The Boy from Mushin tells the story of Bisi Alimi, who risked his life when he came out as gay live on Nigerian television.
349 backers pledged £20,720 to help bring this project to life.

New Plans for The Boys From Mushin

Posted by Joe Cohen (Creator)

Dear Friends and Supporters, 

Firstly let me apologise, it has been a while since I have been in touch, so thank you, once again, for your patience while we've been working to complete The Boys From Mushin. I also apologise in advance for the long message below, but I think the outcome is exciting, so please bear with me.

Since I was denied entry to Nigeria, the narrative of the film has presented a challenge. A lot of our documentary is set in the past, and it became difficult to continue that story without visiting Nigeria. However, I recently spoke with a mentor of mine, and we came up with what I feel is an interesting solution. The idea being that we would release the film as an interactive documentary. I'll try to explain what that is, and why I think this approach is the best way forward.

An interactive film is still a film, however it's not watched in a traditional linear way in the cinema. It's viewed on a platform such as a website, or a software program, an app or in an exhibition / conference / museum space, where you can click through the content of the film in a non linear way. The layout of the film is often designed in a way that you can choose which sections to see, when you want to see them.

I have watched some wonderful interactive documentaries at film festivals, such as one where you click on a checkpoint in Palestine, and every checkpoint links to a short clip about the people passing through. Another I saw, you clicked on a stall in London's Brixton market, and in each stall, you watched a short film about the immigrant communities who have set up the different businesses in the market. I've seen many more of these films which are extraordinary, and it may well be where the future of documentary cinema is heading.

This approach for The Boys From Mushin would solve many problems. It would mean that we don't have to force a narrative into a 90 minute film, but it can be viewed clip by clip, so that the viewer puts the story together holistically. It also allows us to use the footage from Nigeria which was filmed by a local crew and will be highlighted as different footage shot on the ground. We would also be able to add more information about LGBT rights in Nigeria to the film design layout, so as you click on the content, there will be some facts and figures, as well as links to relevant charities and foundations.

Another reason that I believe this is a good solution, is that whilst it doesn't quite have the prestige of being screened in a cinema, it will have the opportunity to be seen by many more people. If the narrative of a feature length isn't quite working, the likelihood it will be screened is limited. There may be a couple of film festivals that choose to screen it, but it will be difficult for it to reach a wider audience. By creating an interactive doc, we immediately open the possibilities to screen it at places such as human rights events, festivals, conferences such as the international AIDS conference, or the World Economic Forum, immigration centres, community centres, museums, schools and universities, without them having to schedule a 90minute film. It opens up the places we can show it. The major film festivals also have interactive spaces, which you can submit films to. They are sometimes called crossover films (from film to technology) and some of the festivals also have crossover awards.

So, I am still as determined as ever to complete the film and share it with you, and still incredibly grateful for your early support. Realistically this will take longer than I had anticipated as I am applying for some funding for a designer to develop the platform . However all the content has been shot already, so I'm hoping that within a year from now the project will be finished. We will still have a launch in a cinema where the audience will be navigated through the documentary, along with a panel discussion on LGBT rights in Nigeria and West Africa.

In the meantime, please do get in touch if you have any ideas or contacts in the interactive / design / crossover industry space.

When we came up with this solution, everything seemed to fall into place which is exciting, and I'm hoping that the film will be better for it !

Very best wishes,  

Producer, Director: The Boys From Mushin. 

Anita Phagan, Adam Bager, and 7 more people like this update.


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    1. Joe Cohen 2-time creator on

      Thanks Austin, I will do.
      Best wishes,

    2. Austin Wright on

      If you could keep updates on your Facebook as well, that would be great. :) Best of luck.