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Award-Winning Film ‘Phantom’ Shatters Silence on Mental Health Taboo

Nigerian filmmaker tackles a deeply rooted societal taboo with her acclaimed film, ‘Phantom’.
July 20, 2023
8:37 pm

As discussions surrounding mental health continue to be shrouded in secrecy in Nigeria, Busola Komolafe’s film, Phantom, has emerged as a powerful catalyst for change.


Recognized with the prestigious Best African Film (Short/Feature) award at the International World Film Awards, Phantom serves as a groundbreaking exploration of the silent struggles faced by countless Nigerians.


In an exclusive interview with TNR, Komolafe opened up about her motivations behind creating Phantom. She highlighted the stark contrast between the attention given to physical rehabilitation and the neglect of mental health issues within the country. By shedding light on this pressing matter through her film, Komolafe aims to spark much-needed conversations and raise awareness within Nigerian society.


Employing an auteur directing style, Komolafe meticulously crafted a compelling narrative that delves into the complexities of mental health. Collaborating with director of photography Adeyemi Kolade, she skilfully captured the raw emotions and authentic performances that bring the story to life.


Phantom follows the journey of Ajuma, a former kidnap victim, who grapples with the haunting aftermath of her experience. Despite her physical rescue, the film explores the invisible chains that continue to bind her, revealing the enduring impact of trauma on mental well-being. Through Ajuma’s story, Komolafe challenges prevailing notions of freedom and prompts viewers to reevaluate their understanding of the subject.


The film’s recognition and nomination for prestigious awards are a testament to Komolafe’s artistic vision and the significance of its message. By submitting Phantom to international film festivals, she hopes to amplify its reach and foster dialogue on mental health both within Nigeria and across borders.


Reflecting on her creative journey, Komolafe expressed her satisfaction with the final outcome of Phantom. The film closely aligns with her original vision, and she has no regrets or desire for changes. Through her dedication and meticulous approach, Komolafe has successfully brought her powerful vision to the screen.


For Komolafe, the true essence of filmmaking lies in transforming ideas into a tangible reality that resonates with audiences. Witnessing the impact of her work and its ability to provoke thought and dialogue is the ultimate reward and fulfilment.


Phantom continues to captivate audiences, boldly addressing the long-standing taboo surrounding mental health in Nigeria. Komolafe’s film serves as a catalyst for change, pushing for open conversations and greater understanding of these crucial issues within society.


Through her artistry and unwavering commitment, Komolafe is breaking the silence and paving the way for a more inclusive and compassionate approach to mental health in Nigeria.


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