‘There are no gays in Nigeria’. These words were spoken by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, and struck at the heart of a courageous young activist from one of Nigeria’s poorest slums, Mushin, inspiring him to take drastic action.
Bisi Alimi put his life on the line when he came out, during a live interview with Funmi Iyanda, on her popular show ‘New Dawn’. He was the first and only Nigerian to come out publicly, on national television. The show was immediately pulled off the air and his proud declaration was debated in Parliament. Bisi became alienated from his friends and family, and was subjected to years of hatred and violent attacks.
The Boy from Mushin is a feature length documentary that follows Bisi’s life story, from his time as an HIV advocate in Nigeria and his coming out, to his journey through exile to London as a refugee, and his rise to become one of Africa’s most prominent Human Rights activists. We join him as he makes the dangerous journey back to Nigeria for the first time since he was exiled, and as he takes his message of acceptance to the global stage, speaking with world leaders, some of whom are discussing LGBT rights for the very first time.
The film tells a complex story of race, gender, sexuality and politics in Nigeria, as we meet other courageous gay men and women that are fighting tirelessly for acceptance and justice across Africa. We meet the people who knew Bisi and who have been inspired by him to take his legacy further, and the heroes whom Bisi has been inspired by.
Bisi’s story is the story of millions of people around the world who are subjected to discrimination and violence every day. At a time where we are fighting more and more the prejudice in our hearts, homes and on our streets, this film seeks to show the power of self-belief and the need for greater acceptance and understanding. It highlights the often brutal injustice African LGBT people face every day, and the challenges faced in the West as we grapple to support those fleeing discrimination, and how we engage in global business and tourism with countries that oppress minorities.
Anti-immigration rhetoric has become more prevalent in the West in politics and society over the last few years, and we have witnessed violent backlash against LGBT communities in countries around the globe. As a result we believe there has never been a more important time to share and be a part of this film. The Boy From Mushin recognises the human behind the story, behind the headlines, and shows that a person is more than just a statistic.
Help us to share these stories of hope and courage about LGBT people across Africa, by supporting independent documentary filmmaking and pledging to this film.
"A groundbreaking new film" - The Huffington Post Queer Voices
“Charts an extraordinary life journey”- i-D magazine
“Intimate and Powerful..” - Attitude Magazine
We recently were awarded a $25,000 dollar grant from the ARCUS Foundation, which enabled us to continue production, such as scenes when Bisi spoke to the World Economic Forum Africa about LGBT rights, the first time this has ever been on their official agenda. We still need funding to finish filming, and to begin the editing process. All the money raised from this crowd fund will go directly into production and postproduction costs. It will enable us to fund the prinicipal filming including:
Crew hire: camera operator, sound recordist, fixer
Travel, flights and accommodation.
Insurance cover and legal fees.
We have chosen the fixed method of funding, whereby if we do not reach our target we will lose what has been pledged. This is to ensure that we can complete the filming and that your generous support doesn’t go to waste. Our funding target is the very minimum we need to achieve this. In the event of us not meeting our target, your pledges will be refunded. If we exceed our target, we have many stretch goals, meaning the extra will be used for costs such as editing, sound design, and musical composition fees.
Our volunteer team is also fundraising separately through traditional routes, such as foundation funding and broadcasters, so that we can raise a budget for marketing and salaries.
The film is geared towards the international film festival market to secure a distribution deal and a big Video On Demand release, ideally in conjunction with an established VOD distributor.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Spread the word! Follow us on:
Share this project on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #theboyfrommushin
Pledge: We are pleased to announce several exciting rewards for generously supporting our film, including: Pre-order a copy of the film + signed copies + limited framed posters + invitation to a panel event on LGBT and human rights with Bisi Alimi.
A CAMPAIGN AROUND THE FILM
Recently, an anti-homosexuality law was passed in Nigeria that criminalises same sex relationships by up to 14 years in prison, and anyone, gay or straight, who does not report a known homosexual. The law has made it more difficult to advocate for LGBT rights, and has lead to a decline in HIV treatment and prevention. The impact of this law on society means that there is greater intolerance from the public toward LGBT communities, leading to acts of violence and public humiliation perpetrated against individuals.
Other countries have seen even more radical approaches by lawmakers against LGBT people. In Uganda, the international community stood up and fought the ‘Kill The Gays’ Bill, which has now been repealed, yet it is still illegal to be gay in 35 other countries across Africa.
Through the documentary The Boy From Mushin we wish to create international awareness in the fight against Nigeria’s current law, so that LGBT and all citizens of Nigeria will be able to live free from persecution because of their identity.
We can change history.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
Throughout his undergraduate course at the University of Bristol, Joe was the LGBT Union Officer as well as the president of the Student Action for Refugees Society. The Boy from Mushin is Joe's first feature length film. www.joecohen.co.uk
Risks and challenges
Having worked in the documentary film industry for nearly ten years, I am aware of the potential challenges that often arise, from last minute technical issues to finding the right distribution. However this is also an exciting time for documentary filmmaking, as there are new funding and distribution models constantly being created. Rising to these challenges is important, as is the need for the LGBT community and our allies to come together, to take risks, just as Bisi did, to tell our stories.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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