Film screening brings focus back to Nigerian kidnappings

Teahl Rice

Black United Students held a screening of Bring Back Our Daughters, 7 p.m. Tuesday in Oscar Ritchie Hall.

Bring Back Our Daughters, an eight-minute film, serves as a commentary on the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the extremist group Boko Haram in April of this year. So far, few girls have been released and most are still being held captive.

Joey Pompignano, who wrote the film, said the film’s goal is for the viewer to envision their female loved ones being lost to them. He said he hopes to raise awareness about places in the world where educating females is frowned upon.

“The main goal is that we want to make the whole situation relatable to everybody no matter your background or where you come from,” Pompignano said.  “We don’t want people to have a feeling of disconnect to those girls.”

There is an emphasis on understanding and relating to what is going on with the Nigerian kidnapping in the film. The presentation that followed, given by the film’s creators, also focused on not forgetting the issue.

Christopher Hicks, the film’s director, said he wanted viewers to feel empathy.

“Empathy. That is the most important thing when talking about a topic like this,” Hicks said. “We don’t realize the instances that happen in mere seconds.” He went on to say that people need to understand that it’s more than just a phase or an instance; it’s something that affects everyone.

Anu Kolawole, a fashion design major, sang throughout the film, accompanying Pompignano’s spoken word. Kolawole, who is of Nigerian descent, said the tragedy hits close to home.

After the film, Kolawole and Pompigano gave a live performance of their parts in the film. Kolawole, Pompignano and Hicks opened a question and answer session to the audience following the film. 

Topics such as religion, the current state of the kidnappings and what might happen in the future were all discussed.

“The answer is do what you can,” Hicks said. “Use your abilities or donate. This video may reach someone who can make a bigger difference.”

Hicks said one of the film’s main messages is that everyone can make a difference.

Brittany Barmon, a sophomore human development and family studies major, said people often forget important issues after stories leave the news media circuit.

“After everything that went on (with the kidnappings) we put it on the back burner,” Barmon said. “I think people show false support for things and it revived my interest. And even though I’m not hearing about it anymore I’m now interested in it again.” 

Hicks and Pompignano plan to submit the movie to film festivals to promote awareness. They are also promoting the video on Youtube and other social media with BUS’s help.

Contact Teahl Rice at [email protected].