‘Daughters of the Niger Delta’ is a bottom-up film production. Rather than bringing in external filmmakers to document the lives of women, young women from the heart of the region were equipped with the tools and skills to do so themselves. They were trained in filmmaking as part of a MIND capacity building program entitled FEMSCRIPT.

Throughout the production process, the local film crew was engaged in framing and validating the key messages and images to be shared with the world. This bottom-up cinematographic approach was considered crucial in the Niger Delta context, where key players in the crisis claim to fight on behalf of the Niger Delta people while merely filling their own pockets.

The peer filmmakers did research on gender and women’s human rights in their own communities. They spent weeks with everyday women to capture their daily lives on film and encourage them to share their life stories. The result is a touching testimony of everyday life, highlighting injustices that we rarely hear about in the news.

The local film crew was amazingly successful in building up trust amongst its peers. Women who never learned to speak up for themselves gradually opened up in front of the camera. This level of trust would have been impossible to build up even by the most seasoned external film crew. The peer filmmakers deserve just as much credit for the end result as the director, trainers, and editors involved in the project.

 

Filmmaking Helen