I may be wrong, but the upcoming Oloture from EbonyLife Films is a complex departure from the studio’s brand of bloated, bombastic comedies. The movie, about a young journalist (Sharon Ooja) who goes undercover to expose the shady underworld of human trafficking, has generated some buzz and positively receptive press after it was screened last month in Lagos.
So, as you’d imagine, expectations are running high for those who are yet to see the movie. I’m talking about myself, really. Now, EbonyLife Films has released a teaser-trailer for the movie, and the footage is well-calibrated to intrigue with an opening shot of Ooja anxiously saying ”I can’t talk right now” into a phone. The teaser closes with women kneeling down in a shrine and having their bare backs (sorry for the way this sounds) splashed with blood, a common ritual done to prospective sex workers for protection, prosperity and, most importantly, a binding contract that ultimately punishes them if they decide to break their oats.
I’m going to think of Beverly Osu grimacing in the teaser for a while, as she depicts that fleeting expression of finally realising the gravity of what she’s getting herself into. Also, I’m hoping that this movie doesn’t conflate human trafficking and sex work, and further demonise sex workers who are just going about their jobs like you and I. There’s no part of the constitution that prohibits prostitution in Nigeria, but there are laws that punishes those who traffic under-aged women into sex work.
That said, I’d like Ooja to shine in this movie, given that I can’t remember if she’s ever starred as a lead in a film. She’s got decent appearances on television though, most memorably the NdaniTV flagship drama Skinny Girl In Transit. Oloture, directed by Kenneth Gyang with Mo Abudu as executive producer, also stars Omoni Oboli, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Segun Arinze, and Lala Akindoju.