Tag Archives: Academy Awards

Nigeria’s Milkmaid submitted for Oscar

Desmond Ovbiagele’s Oscar hopeful The Milkmaid


Hausa-language thriller The Milkmaid has been selected as Nigeria’s official submission for the 93rd US Academy Awards in the International Feature Film (IFF) category.

The film was chosen by the 12-strong Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC), subject to approval by the IFF executive committee.

Out of five other films submitted – Sanitation Day, Voiceless, Oloture, Ibi (The Birth) and Eyimofe – The Milkmaid scored the overwhelming majority of votes.

The Milkmaid, shot with Hausa, Fulfulde and Arabic dialogue, is said to be an authentic Nigerian story with global relevance. Critics have hailed it for its acting, direction and cinematography and it has been screened in cinemas in Nigeria, Cameroon and Zimbabwe.

The film is written, produced and directed by Desmond Ovbiagele and deals with insurgency, especially as it affects women and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

Inspired by the image on Nigeria’s 10 naira note, the film tells the story of a Fulani milkmaid who confronts religious extremists in a rural African community in a quest to locate her missing sister, and how efforts to recapture her disrupted past prove complicated.

The film, shot on location in Taraba State in north-east Nigeria, is executive produced by New Jersey-based surgeon Oluseun Sowemimo and stars popular northern Nigerian actress Maryam Booth, in a cast that also includes Ibrahim Jammal, Anthonieta Kalunta and Gambo Usman Kona.

The NOSC is headed by filmmaker and education administrator Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi, who said there was a significant improvement in the quality of films received this year.

“The Academy’s approved parameters had to be diligently followed to select the country’s entry without prejudice. I must say that the Nigerian film industry is awakened to the internationally acceptable requirements for film production, though there would always be room for improvement in order to increase our competitive outlook every year,” she said.

The other NOSC members are: filmmaker and chairman of the Audio-Visual Rights Society of Nigeria Mahmood Ali-Balogun; filmmaker/talent manager Mildred Okwo; filmmaker/author Charles Novia; veteran actress turned filmmaker Ego Boyo; director and cinematographer Adetokunbo ‘DJ Tee’ Odubawo; theatre practitioner and head of production for M-Net West Africa Yibo Koko; group executive director of Filmhouse Cinemas and MD of FilmOne Entertainment Moses Babatope; CEO of Legend Box Office Bruce Ayonote; filmmaker and founder of the In-Short Film Festival Victor Okhai; actress and producer Omoli Oboli; and journalist/film critic Shaibu Husseini.

The 93rd edition of the Academy Awards is scheduled to take place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on April 25, 2021.

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NFVF picks Barakat for 2022 Oscars


The National Film & Video Foundation (NFVF) has chosen the movie Barakat as South Africa’s official submission for Best International Feature at the 94th Academy Awards next year.

Barakat is a 2020 South African family drama directed by Amy Jephta and produced by Ephraim Gordon. It deals with family problems where an aging matriarch aims to bring together her fractured family over Eid-al-Fitr to break the news about her new romance.

According to MultiChoice broadcaster M-Net, the movie is told in Afrikaaps, the widely spoken Cape dialect of the Afrikaans language, and Jephta is the fourth female director to be submitted to the Oscars by South Africa, and the first woman of colour.

The film stars Vinette Ebrahim, Joey Rasdien, Mortimer Williams, Keeno-Lee Hector, Danny Ross, Quanita Adams and Bonnie Mbuli.

Jephta said: “I am so proud that our small story about a family has reached as many people as it has. To be recognised by South Africa in this way is incredibly special after an extremely challenging year for our film industry.”

“This selection was totally unexpected, but it shows that everyone’s hard work on this project has paid off. This film was a blessing from the beginning and continues to be. It is our Barakat,” added Gordon.

Next year’s Oscars will be presented on March 27.

The movie was released in South African cinemas in May 2021 and on BoxOffice by pay TV platform DStv in June 2021. It has won seven international awards so far, including Best International Feature at the 2021 Idyllwild International Festival of Cinema and Best Narrative Feature at both the Motion Pictures International Film Festival and The Reel Sisters of the Diaspora Festival in 2020.

Barakat was developed in partnership with kykNET, a MultiChoice-owned channel, and funded in association with The Department of Trade, Industry & Competition, the NFVF, The Industrial Development Corporation and Indigenous Film Distribution, the film’s South African distributor.

The movie can be watched on kykNET on December 18 at 20.00.

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