Pascal Atuma’s “Imported Wives” Joins Conversation on Japa Syndrome
“It’s an epidemic. If you look at the US and Canada, marriages among Africans have an 80% divorce rate. You can research it,” says Pascal Atuma, director and star of the upcoming film, “Imported Wives.”
The reason for his assertion is not far-fetched. “A lot of people are marrying, not for love, but for the opportunity to migrate. They also marry for money,” he argues.
Acting as a mirror to the modern-day reality of marriages and relationships, the film aims to showcase what happens when men literally take wives from villages in Africa, marry them, and then “import” them abroad to start a new life.
Importation of wives is not a new concept, at least in Nigeria. A quick perusal of the blogs and newspapers will show that the practice happens more often than not. “Imported Wives is a story of people who come from abroad to take a wife, and the family gives her away,” Nancy Isime, co-star of the upcoming film explains.
Isime, who plays the role of a village girl who is imported by an American returnee, further states: “The woman has her own thoughts of what the marriage would be like, and the man has his thoughts as well. At the end of the day, they are not on the same page.”
“Imported Wives” is loosely based on the Atuma Brothers’ commercially successful film, “My American Nurse” (2006), and the sequel, “My American Nurse 2” (2009). Apart from its obvious theme of the consequences of importing wives, the film aims to shed light on the culture shock that affects many Nigerian marriages in the diaspora.
Isime reveals that she is not a fan of the “japa wave” trend in the country, however, she does not discourage people from towing that path if that is their heart’s desire. “They know where the shoe pinches. Advising people to stay back when they have no hope here makes no sense,” she explains. “At the end of the day, you must do what you must do.”
Joining Atuma and Isime to explore the narrative of “Imported Wives” are Nollywood veterans Patience Ozokwor and Ngozi Nwosu. Though their roles have not been disclosed, it is expected that they will bring their wealth of experience and humor to the project. Funky Mallam also joins the cast as an Igbira man who offers comic relief to the otherwise serious issues discussed. Rounding up the cast are Omoni Oboli, Joseph Benjamin, Linda Osifo, MC Blonde, Lucy Ameh, and Vivian Williams.
Principal photography has officially wrapped up for “Imported Wives.” Shooting locations include Nigeria and Canada. Pascal and Oscar Atuma serve as producers for the project; Joy Madubuike is the executive producer.
As of the publication of this article, no word has been given on an official release date.