Watch Kaelo Iyizoba’s Gripping Short Film ‘Boy Meets Girl’

“This film is a call to action for me.”

Nigerian-American award-winning filmmaker Kaelo Iyizoba’s short film Boy Meets Girl made its global debut on April 14, 2023. The film was inspired by the tragic events of the Chibok girls’ abduction in 2014 by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram. 

Set in the town of Gamboru in Borno State, North-East Nigeria, Boy Meets Girl follows a seemingly ordinary day in the life of 15-year-old Musa whose life’s trajectory is irrevocably changed during a chance encounter with a young girl on a bus. Boy Meets Girl is Kaelo’s first narrative film. It stars Aaliyah Atazamu and Gabriel Dung and is produced by Adnaan Muhammed-Ali and Conrad Johnson-Omodiagbe. It won the award for Outstanding Experimental Film at the 2021 Abuja International Film Festival. 

Boy Meets Girl first started as a class exercise in school,” says Iyizoba, who has been described by Buzzfeed as one of four upcoming Black filmmakers shaping the future of the industry. “My professor had asked that we write a 2-page script with no dialogue. The caveat was that at the end of the script, the protagonist’s world must have irreversibly changed. Somehow as soon as the assignment was given, I knew exactly what I was going to write.

Still from Boy Meets Girl.

“This assignment was never meant to be made into a film, but after reading it, my professor insisted I found a way to film it. With a script and zero budget, I and my producers Conrad Johnson-Omodiagbe and Adnan Muhammed-Ali jumped into the making of this film. I remember the night before the shoot, we had not been able to cast one of our lead characters yet. I and Adnan were literally on the streets of Abuja searching for someone who could pull it off. Honestly, without context, it would be easy to have mistaken us for kidnappers. Luckily Conrad came to the rescue with a dying-minute goal and we had the perfect actor to play Musa’s mother.”

In a runtime of fewer than eight minutes, Boy Meets Girl’ is a poignant movie that forces us to confront the uncomfortable truth about the mass abduction of children in Nigeria. It’s also a reminder that we must never give up in the fight for justice and security. “Over time, it becomes too easy to reduce entire lives to mere numbers,” says Iyizoba, who also serves as the film’s executive producer. “We can distance ourselves from their humanity, forgetting that they loved and were loved, just like us. This film is a call to action for me.”

Kaelo holds the Arthur Krim Award for Excellence in Producing (from Columbia University) and is a Blackhouse-Meta fellow and a Facebook SEEN future filmmaker grant recipient. The young creator is passionate about making films that allow us to see pieces of ourselves in others. He considers himself a trader whose merchandise is empathy.

Still from Boy Meets Girl.

“Acting as ‘Girl’ in this film introduced me to a different perspective of pain,” says Aaliyah Atazamu, one of the lead actors in Boy Meets Girls.  To be in that helpless place where death is the only way out. It gave me more empathy [for] the plights of displaced people in Nigeria.”

Muhammed-Ali, one of the film’s producers, adds: “The film unveils some of the insidious tactics used by extremist groups to manipulate vulnerable individuals. It also serves as a reminder to us all of the urgent need to address the underlying grievances that fuel terrorism in Nigeria today.” 

Watch Boy Meets Girl’ below.

Featured image credits/Courtesy of the director