As the producer of Nigeria’s upcoming film “Orgasm”, Godwin Harrison had to find a way around roadblocks aimed at blocking the distribution of LGBT-focused films in Nigeria. The film, slated for release in April, tackles various issues of identity, hookup culture, love, survival and sexuality within Nigeria’s LGBT community.
“Orgasm” tells the story of a low-key queer man whose one-night stand with a guy he met online turns into a romance.
The film, produced by HUG Media Concept, an independent Nigerian film production company, explores the ways the Nigerian queer community relies on the internet to find love, intimacy and community.
Talk to NoStringsNGGodwin Harrison, the film’s producer and CEO of HUG Media Concepts, explained why he made the film.
“What inspired me to tell the story is how society has confined the queer community that they have to rely on dating apps to find hookups and eventually sex. Many people go on dating apps just for one night, but, you know, love is a weird thing and it has a way of finding you even when you least expect it.
In Nigeria, due to laws that discriminate against LGBT people, all forms of physical organization or socializing are largely unsafe. LGBTIQ+ people online are often drawn to places where they are attacked, blackmailed, extorted and sometimes even killed by homophobes.
However, despite these challenges, Harrison is optimistic about finding a good partner online, which is one of the things he tried to highlight in his upcoming film.
“The story of finding true love online is long overdue and I had to tell the community that you can always find true love on these dating apps. Just be positive”.
Interestingly, the film also highlights the socio-cultural pressure that LGBT people experience, which prevents them from living authentically.
This question was explored in the film, where one of the characters chose to abandon his gay partner to marry a woman just to please society – a common practice among gay men.
But making pro-LGBT films in a climate like Nigeria where homosexuality is widely condemned and considered taboo comes at a price.
“These stories need to be told” said Harrison.
He shared some of the challenges he faced while making pro-LGBTIQ+ films.
“When my last film, ‘Broken Rainbow’, came out, I was fired from my job. My friends, even community members, condemned and criticized me. But these stories need to be told and whether they like it or not, they have to see them”.
‘Broken Rainbow’ – another pro-LGBT film – was produced and released last year by Harrison’s production company HUG Media Concepts. The film, which received positive reviews and awards, was screened in various countries at film festivals.
For the LGBT community and its allies, this is a laudable effort. However, since homosexuality is criminalized in the country, this film will not get a theatrical release, nor will it be released on mainstream online streaming platforms. Indeed, it can be banned by the Nigerian government claiming that such films promote homosexuality.
In 2020, The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has threatened to withdraw “Ìféa lesbian-themed Nigerian film, should it be released on streaming platforms. The film’s producers were threatened with legal action if they released the film without official approval.
Harrison said he plans to avoid similar issues. He made arrangements with an international gay online movie streaming company for the release and distribution of the film.
“Speaking of government sanctions: we don’t use any of the Nigerian distribution channels, so we have full control over our work. As things stand, the film [will be] distributed by GayBingeTV.”
Here is the movie trailer:
The film stars Prince Banabas and Elvis Obue in the lead roles.
Speaking to NoStringsNG, Prince said the movie was a must see and he had a lot to learn about queer love and relationships.
“I think people really need to see this movie. I believe there are many lessons to be learned. This will teach you a lot about being self-aware and trying to figure out what a relationship requires before jumping right in. Many homosexuals go into relationships without knowing what they really want and that’s really wrong.
The budding actor also pointed out why films like these are important. He said:
“I think films like these help tell the hidden stories and reveal the hidden truth. The LGBTIQ+ community is plagued with many issues that many people try to ignore. But with movies like this, conversations around LGBTIQ+ issues are humanized and brought to the fore”