The Delectable Azeezah Sama: The Screening, the Experience, and the Social Impact
The evening of July 28 came with a cozy ambience in the snugness of the Consulate General, Kingdom of Netherlands in Lagos. Enveloped by the sound of soothing music, and a gay disposition of great individuals who had come to grace the event: the screening of The Delectable Azeezah Sama.
Isabella Adediji masterfully anchored the chain of exhibitions that dovetail into the screening.
Setting the tone, the opening speech by Leonie Van der Stijl, the Deputy Consul General of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Lagos, revealed, gender based violence is a global menace that must be tackled head-on by all means. “Gender based violence is rampant everywhere on the planet… and the pushback on the achieved rights and the bodily autonomy of people is growing every day. In every country, push back on commitments we collectively agreed upon, the push back on policies and laws. To push back on the rights of women and girls who already face violence, exclusion and discrimination. It keeps people small. And it excludes women, for example, from places of power. In the Netherlands… domestic violence is still a huge issue as well. The trends are the same. Violence goes unreported. Every eight days a woman in the Netherlands is murdered because she is a woman. Usually by partner or an ex-partner. And there’s a pattern of hatred towards female politicians. Gender trolling on the Internet. Something that also goes on without reporting… It hits women hardest. It’s seriously undermining force in our policy politics right now. Scaring women.” Talking about the potency of the arts in addressing this degeneration in the human system, she further established, “Through art and dialogue, as we will see today, we can question the structures and the enablers that are in place. I think arts and dialogue will allow us to step back and research our own reflexes too.”
Film is a powerful medium that can influence public perception and awareness of various social issues, such as domestic violence: a pervasive problem that affects millions of people worldwide, especially women and children.
The Delectable Azeezah Sama portrays the reality and ultimate consequences of domestic violence. The film reveals gender based violence is the antithesis of freedom and bliss. Written by Fisayo Ojabodu, and produced by Desmond Ebuwa Ekunwe and Fisayo Ojabodu. The duo of Tochi Onwubiko and Orobosa Ikponwen directed the film. Isoken Aruede is the protagonist, while Nonso Ekemezie, concurrently played the antagonist and deuteragonist. With Tomisin Osinubi and Bobby Ekpe, playing confidant and tritagonist respectively.
The film which has a run time of 22 mins, 33 seconds, left everyone awestruck after the screening. The thematic premise was visible, relatable, and understandable. The set design, lightning, costumes, sound design, camera movement, et cetera, all came together to animate the story that centered on domestic violence and the cost of being silent as the victim/survival. It is no surprise that the film made its way to Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival (Category: Best Short Film- Nollywood)
When Desmond was asked why he chose to explore such a theme, he unequivocally stated, “We wanted to create a film that goes home with the audience and makes them question the topic of Abuse. A lot of people are in abusive relationships but brush it off, but with this film you’re able to see how abuse plays out and how much silence costs.”
Fisayo, the writer and executive producer, also praised the production team on how they proactively tackled all the challenges they were confronted with on set. Likewise, the lead director, Tochi, expressed how excited she was seeing how the audience were enraptured by the film. By the same token, the joy of the two lead actors, Isoken, who played Azeezah, and Nonso, who played Jimmy, was unfathomable, seeing how the film was accepted.
I believe the film, The Delectable Azeezah Sama, when released to the mainstream, will do well to help survivors of gender based violence speak up. I sincerely hope that the influence of the film will birth a national and global socio-cultural renaissance, and a favourable policy change that will deter ‘gender predators’ from their predatory proclivity.
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