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Korede Azeez Raises Her Flag for the Othered in Upcoming Film, “With Difficulty Comes Ease”:

The filmmaker talks about underrepresentation and misrepresentation in Nollywood.
February 26, 2024
7:28 am
Korede Azeez

For Korede Azeez, feelings of underrepresentation and misrepresentation are not new. The filmmaker, whose journey started in 2018, “can count off the top of her head, and on the fingers of one hand, the major films in Nollywood which have Muslim characters as their lead.”


“Even when you find these Muslim characters,” she said, “they are often misrepresented by the odd character at the gate whose name is Musa.”


When asked how she feels about these stereotypes in Nollywood, she expressed disappointment since Muslims account for half of Nigeria’s population. This interesting, yet sobering fact moved Azeez to secure a remedy in the form of her own film.


TNR met with Azeez to discuss her upcoming film “With Difficulty Comes Ease.”  The project attempts to shine the spotlight on people whom society has Othered. The title stems from verse 94:5 of the Quran.


Asked about the significance of this striking choice of title, she replied. “I wanted something that would make Muslims stop to look at this film.” Not to worry though, non-Muslims are not alone as she reassured, “My non-Muslim audience is not left out because contrary to what might be speculated, “With Difficulty Comes Ease ” is not like a “Mount Zion” film for Muslims. I believe that storytelling is a tool for us to understand one another and, with this tool, I tell the tale of an Igbo woman who becomes a Muslim after marrying her Muslim husband.”


Intrigued by the uniqueness of this storyline, TNR asked Azeez how she garnered inspiration. She explained, “Being married for five years and knowing women who lost their husbands in the early years of marriage, I wondered how they coped. Hearing their experiences was an inspiration for this film and though this is not a copy and paste of their life stories, their experiences opened my eyes to reality, inspiring questions that helped me find depth in writing.”


Considering how this film would resonate with Muslim and non-Muslim women, she said, “Not everyone is the picture-perfect Muslim as we are not all the same. Not all people wear the hijab in the same way, not everyone wears the hijab. Like the character who goes through many phases in life; everyone, both Muslim and non-Muslim women struggles with these phases and when life beats them down, they all struggle with feelings of inadequacy, striving for perfection. This character feels what they feel.”


With Difficulty Comes Ease – A Film By Korede Azeez

She explained further that the major theme in this film is the strength of women, who are forced to go through the fire but come out victorious, forced underwater but hold their heads over. “With Difficulty Comes Ease” explores the unrelenting spirit of women, no matter their religion, tribe, or family background.


Azeez had the support of many people when making this film. She had over 200 people who volunteered to make this film a success either by sharing experiences or getting their hands working. However, she gave kudos to her “amazing team” who stuck with her from the development stage till the end. The sweetest part of this support was working with her daughter on set. Though she described the feeling of working with her child as similar to working with every other toddler, she ascertained that it felt nice.


Reflecting on the difficulties experienced in making this film, Azeez mentioned time as the only challenge. She expressed her gratitude to NEMSIA Studios for their backing, saying that it did not look like she would achieve this in 2023, but she was able to do it.


The release date and other information relating to the movie remain undisclosed.


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