Directed by Joe Cohen – a British documentary producer and director – the upcoming feature-length documentary “The Boy from Mushin” tells the story of Bisi Alimi, who risked his life when he came out as gay, live on Nigerian television, during a live 2004 interview with host Funmi Iyanda, on her popular talk-show “New Dawn with Funmi,” which aired on the national network for over eight years.
The first and only Nigerian to come out publicly, on national television, Alimi gained notoriety. In that same year, he was diagnosed with HIV. His decision to come out so publicly generated both admiration and death threats. Consequently, Alimi was disowned by his family and most of his friends – including some in the gay community – and ejected from his home. Also, as a result, the show he came out on was immediately pulled off the air and his proud declaration was debated in Parliament.
Alimi was subjected to years of hatred and violent attacks.
“The Boy from Mushin” follows Alimi’s life story, from his time as an HIV advocate in Nigeria and his coming out, to his journey through exile to London as a refugee, and his rise to become one of Africa’s most prominent Human Rights activists. The film takes the journey with him as he makes the dangerous trip back to Nigeria for the first time since he was exiled, and as he takes his message of acceptance to the global stage, speaking with world leaders, some of whom are discussing LGBT rights for the very first time.
As the filmmaker notes, the film tells a complex story of race, gender, sexuality and politics in Nigeria, as we meet other courageous gay men and women who are fighting tirelessly for acceptance and justice across Africa.
After being awarded a $25,000 dollar grant from the ARCUS Foundation, which enabled the filmmakers to continue production, the project also successfully raised an additional $26,000 via a Kickstarter campaign late last year (2016). The money was to go into finishing filming, and to begin post-production on the documentary project which I could make its world premiere (likely on the international film festival circuit) later this year or early next year (2018).
No trailer yet, but below you’ll find the pitch video the filmmaker put together for fundraising purposes: