Voiceless: Untold Story Of Love, Death, Betrayals, Hope In Season Of Insurgency
Last Thursday, three major Nollywood studios, Native Media, Theatrone Media, and Whitestone Pictures, jointly announced the release of their much-anticipated, insurgency-inspired romantic-thriller, Voiceless.
This feature film brings to the fore, the plight of Boko Haram abductees, the psychological trauma they are subjected to, and the difficulty of re-integrating them back into the society. Voiceless is a gripping love story based on actual events, fiction, yet factual. Through Salma’s eyes, we see death, betrayals, hope and love in captivity. We also see how society reacts to reintegration and through those eyes, love springs eternal.
Produced by Rogers Ofime, directed by Robert Peters, and starring Esther Asabe Phillips, as Salma; Adam Garba as Goni, Rekiya Attah as Mama Salma, Sani Muazu as Baba Salma, Uzee Usman as Banza, and Yakubu Mohammed as Lafiya, ‘Voiceless’ will open in cinemas across the country from 20th November 2020.
This insurgency-inspired romantic-thriller, based on actual events, tells the story of Salma (Esther Asabe Philips), an intelligent, brilliant and confident, a budding star who’s world is turned upside down when she is abducted with other girls from her school, and Goni (Adam Garba), who was content in the life he lives with his family, but fate had other plans for him.
Goni (Adam Garba) was captured and forced to work for the insurgents as a skilled mechanic, while, Salma (Esther Asabe Philips) was kidnapped along with the other girls from her school to serve the lust and drive home the agenda of their abductors. In the midst of the betrayals and suspicions that make up the abductors camp, they find love, strength, the will to survive and escape back to the life they were taken away from.
Back at the real world, they face another battle which is the acceptance of their love and marriage by Salma’s parents who have rejected the condition in which she returns back home. In the end, their love will pay the ultimate sacrifice for survival.
Voiceless was written by Jennifer Agunloye, a one-time winner of the Homevida screen-writing competition and Executive Director of GIST (Girls Should Thrive Initiative).
A production of Native media, a TV production company, setting new standards on content creation for a dynamic TV audience, Voiceless is distributed in cinemas by FilmOne Entertainment, renowned for films such as The Wedding Party, The Wedding Party 2, Merry Men 1&2, King of Boys, Living in Bondage: Breaking Free and Sugar Rush, to mention a few.
Speaking about the film at a mefia screening in Lagos, the Executive Producer, Rogers Ofime said: “I always believed that there are two roads in life, the ‘I took it and I’m happy I did’ and the ‘Why didn’t I take it?:’ For Voiceless, we took the road not traveled by many and are happy we did. As you sit to enjoy the film, I urge you to take a minute to think quietly, soberly and deeply, that there is hope, and we can be the change we want.” he said. Director Robert Peters, famous for 30 Days in Atlanta, did not hold back his feeling of fulfillment about the project, “I have always wanted to make a film that will give me a better purpose as a filmmaker.”
According to him, when the idea of Voiceless was presented to him, he was very interested.
“We pushed to tell the story even though the odds against us were thirty to one. The story is meaningful, not just because it tells us something about the world we live in, but because it tells us something about ourselves as individuals.” he said.
Ofime noted that in the past 10 years, Native media has consistently redefined creativity and carried the message globally that original quality content, can and does come out of Nigeria.”
The director, Robert Peters says he is very excited to have been part of Voiceless from its inception, adding that “Voiceless” is by far his most ambitious project.
“I am very excited to have been part of it from its inception. This is a social issue film; even though the story of ‘Voiceless’ and the exploitation of the characters involved is a shocking one.
What attracts me is the more fundamentally tragic question at the heart of their existence: ‘What meaning do they find in this existence?’ This is a story of young people who just wanted to live and live in Peace. This story chronicles the travails and tribulations of these boys and girls.
It is a gruesome possible story spread out over an endless eighteen months. The simplest possible actions set in an unchanging landscape, and yet everything hinges on these actions.
The ‘Voiceless’ story is meaningful not just because it tells us something about the world we live in but because it tells us something about ourselves as individuals.
“I have always wanted to make a film that will give me a better purpose as a filmmaker, so when the Idea of ‘Voiceless’ was presented to me by Rogers Ofime and Jennifer Ogunloye, I was very interested.
However, in order to do this justice on the budget we had, time was devoted to preproduction.
Great care and attention was taken to get everything right. We pushed to tell this story even though the odds against us where thirty to one; even when the Nigerian army went silent on us days before principal photography. We persisted and did our best to deliver the best version of ‘Voiceless’.
“Making the film was a remarkable adventure – not at all easy – and it was a wonderful mutual exchange between filmmakers from different parts of the world (Actors and crew, both in production and post-production). It’s been a great privilege to work with Rogers Ofime, Jonathan Kovel, Uzee Usman and everyone involved in this production.
“A huge thanks to all cast, crew, family, friends and sponsors who gave their time so generously to make this film possible,” Peters said. Speaking with New Telegraph after the screening, vetera; actor, Kunle Bamtefa, known for playing the role of Chief Fuji in ‘Fuji House of Commotion’ and Uncle Pablo in ‘The Johnsons’ family sitcom, said: “It’s a lovely one; a very emotional one. It’s a very tight story, well done. You see a bit of everything. It’s a fantastic film.”
Also, in an interview with New Telegraph, celebrated actor, writer, producer, and lawyer, Eyimofe Evans Mofe-Damijo, popularly known as RMD, describes Voiceless as an amazing film, adding that it has a good chance of being seen as a foreign language film.
“For me, it’s audacious, very audacious. I think that it resonates with people, and it has a good chance of being seen as a foreign language film. I am just so excited for all the actors, the crew, and Rogers Ofime, for being constantly fearless in the things he does. I am just very proud of the entire production.” He added that a striking fature of the film is the human side of it, “that love happens in the strangest places.
And also the fact that the rejection that is more touching is the one that comes from within. Imagine, after that crisis, and then for one moment of either religious protection or your personal shame, you deny your child. It’s an amazing film. I just love the human angle to it.”
For veteran filmmaker and television screenwriter, producer and director, Mr. Tade Ogidan, Voiceless is an OSCAR material. “This film makes us proud. There is no lazy work in this; it is awesome. I am proud of Rogers Ofime any day. This film will enter anywhere,” Ogidan said in an interview with New Telegraph.
Also speaking with New Telegraph, the MD/CEO, All Media Studios, Dickson Edward, said Voiceless is a film the whole world should see. “It’s the sad reality in Nigeria. It’s exactly what is going on.
And as a matter of fact, the regular television houses, what they are showing us look like doctored images. But with this type of movie, you will get an acurate picture of what is going on in the society.
“And believe you me, watching it, it moved me to tears becsuse I had to put myself in the shoes of those that it is happening to. It’s devastating,” he said.