‘Daughters of Chibok’ wins Best Virtual Reality Story at the Venice Film Festival

The world watched with horror in April 2014 when 276 girls were kidnapped from their school dormitory in Chibok, northeastern Nigeria by extremist group, Boko Haram. The non-admission of the atrocity by the then president, Goodluck Johnathan fuelled social outrage and led to the birth of the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Over the years, following government negotiation with the terrorists, 107 girls have been released from captivity but many more still remain unaccounted for.

Five years later, a documentary titled ‘Daughters of Chibok’ has won the virtual reality linear competition at the 76th annual Venice Film Festival. The Joel Kachi Benson documentary follows the story of Yana Galang, one of the mother’s of the abducted schoolgirls who is still missing; she cleans her daughter’s clothes everyday in hopes that she will return. The documentary, through virtual reality, explores the aftermath of the kidnappings and explores global issues such as poverty and the right to education. This win will plummet the story of the Chibok girls back into global attention once more and invite more people to never forget the atrocities committed by Boko Haram; till then #BringBackOurGirls

Watch Joel Kachi Benson’s acceptance speech below:

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Last week I shared pictures and a message of how grateful I was to be at the Venice Biennale, rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names and the best minds in the world of virtual reality. For me it was great, just to be here, and have my film play alongside theirs. That was enough for me. I never knew there was more to come. As the festival began to wind down, I remember asking the curator if he’d be able to squeeze me in to attend the closing ceremony so I could watch the awards been given out, and he smiled and said he’d see what he could do to get me in. Two days ago he called me and said there’d be no need for that…our film #daughtersofchibok would be receiving an award, so I’d have a seat reserved for me. And so here we are, bringing home The Lion award for Best VR Story. The young boy who roamed the streets of Ijeshatedo during the day and slept in empty churches at night because he had no home to go to, is now on the world stage. Now if that’s not God, I don’t know what is. I thank everyone that has supported me on this crazy incredible adventure…my wife, my friends, my teachers (@timski67 and @joycectsang who taught me the importance of always “wrapping it in story”), @cobhamsasuquo who made the most incredible music for the #daughtersofchibok, @michaellawanson for the sleepless nights cranking out the cover art for the film, and my team who’ve had to deal with all my mood swings and mad experiments. God has been too kind to me…I don’t know why…but I’m grateful. I’d have loved to end this with something profound, but I’ll just repeat what the someone in Venice said to me, and hope that it inspires someone – “Joel, you’re this guy that no one had ever heard of, who just came out the blues, and now you’ve put your country on the world’s vr map. You just proved that with faith and courage anyone can soar to the top”. #daughtersofchibok #virtualrealityworld #virtualrealitynigeria #labiennaledivenezia @imisi3d @iamaniwura @northeastihub @vr360stories @cobhamsasuquo @murphy_akande @timski67 @facey813 @iamshabz

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Featured image credits/La Biennale Di Venezia

Tami is a lover of astrology, music and women. Tweet your fave female artistes at her @tamimak_

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