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Nigerian Short Film “Ti e Nbo” Explores LGBTQ+ Issues Through Personal Lens

According to the filmmaker, she hopes her film drives home that “you can’t beat or pray the gay away” as the six minute drama heads to Belgium.
April 2, 2024
2:26 pm

A powerful new short film from Nigerian writer/director Chinazaekpere Chukwu is making waves on the festival circuit with its unflinching look at LGBTQ+ rights and the disturbing practice of conversion therapy in the filmmaker’s home country.


Titled “Ti e Nbo,” a Yoruba phrase meaning “Your own is coming,” the six-minute drama had its world premiere at the 12th Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in Lagos, Nigeria in November 2023. It has now been selected to screen in competition at the upcoming Afrika Film Festival in Belgium, taking place from Friday, April 19 to Tuesday, April 30, 2024, vying for the Young African Filmmakers Award (YAFMA) for best fiction.



The film centers on Feranmi (Nonso Ekemezie), a 19-year-old who struggles with his feelings for his friend Tolulope (Chidi-Maha Grey). When Feranmi’s conservative father (Brutus Richard) discovers this attraction, he goes to extreme and abusive lengths to force his son to conform to his rigid definition of “normal” through controversial conversion therapy practices.


In an exclusive interview with the TNR team, Chukwu stated the film’s intent is to show “how harmful” such religious pseudo-scientific practices can be. “I’ve heard worse, I’ve seen worse,” the director said of the disturbing real-life stories of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy that inspired parts of “Ti e Nbo.”



While same-sex relationships are criminalized in Nigeria, potentially carrying a 14-year prison sentence, Chukwu hopes her film drives home that “you can’t beat or pray the gay away.” The writer-director, who drew inspiration after stumbling upon pictures of conversion therapy online, believes cinema can play a vital role in changing societal attitudes.


“Film has a very important role to play if we are going to teach people that it’s not okay to be prejudiced against gay people,” Chukwu stated. “If film says it isn’t okay, many people will agree that it isn’t okay.”



As “Ti e Nbo” continues its festival run in Belgium and potentially other events, Chukwu is optimistic audiences will remain open to its provocative look at a deeply personal struggle. Plans are underway for a public release later this year following the film’s time on the international circuit, according to the director and producer Bolaji Gelax.


The up-and-coming Chukwu is already at work on short new film projects like “Iku ya j’esin” and “Frames of Grief” while preparing for her first feature film. She hopes to continue combining bold, socially-conscious storytelling with industry collaboration as a writer and director in Nigeria’s growing film scene.


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