EbonyLife’s Mo Abudu Makes Directorial Debut With Short Films About Nigerian Women and Mental Health

Mo Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Media and a Nigerian producer, has been instrumental in telling African stories on television but she has never written one herself, not until now

Abudu made her screenwriting and directorial debut with the release of two short films honing in on mental health issues in Nigeria: “Her Perfect Life” and “Iyawo Mi” (“My Wife”).

Her films were recently screened at the Rhode Island Film Festival, the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, the HollyShorts Film Festival, and the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival.

“These two stories are dealing with very, very sensitive issues in Nigerian society when it comes to mental health challenges,” Abudu says. “And this is a topic that we continue to underplay. And there’s so much stigmatization attached to it within our society not just Nigeria alone, but even around the world.”

While “Her Perfect Life” tells the story of an affluent wife and mother suffering in silence underneath a flawless façade, “My Wife” follows a husband from an impoverished neighbourhood desperately seeking help for his wife as she experiences unexpected hallucinations. When they don’t receive the support they need, serious ramifications ensue for both female protagonists of Abudu’s films.

Abudu shares what she hopes people take away from the film, emphasizing the importance of empathy and communication.

“When someone says, ‘Am I OK?’  — are they really OK? Are we checking on them to make sure they’re really okay?”

Abudu also discusses how “Her Perfect Life” and “My Wife” highlight mental health struggles across disparate socioeconomic backgrounds in Nigeria.

“What I did set out to do was to tell two different stories about women in my society that are dealing with mental health challenges,” she says. “There’s no discrimination against color, there’s no discrimination against religion, or gender, or how much money is in your pocket at the end of the day. This can affect anyone from any part of our society.”

Abudu says she hopes the film speaks to the importance of building out societal infrastructure to provide mental health resources.

“We need to make sure that there are support systems,” she says. “We need to stop being in denial…Because I think some people still feel very strongly that [mental illness] isn’t real. But it is real.”

Share this:

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *