Praise from honored director: ‘She broke the anti-gay wall’

Elizabeth Funke Obisanya poses with her BEFFTA award and (on left) Sabrina Chiemeka, who played Magda, and Louisa Warren, who played the role of racist homophobe and bully Laura.
Elizabeth Funke Obisanya poses with her BEFFTA award and with Sabrina Chiemeka (left), who played Magda, and Louisa Warren (right), who played the role of racist homophobe and bully Laura. “She is lovely in real life, though,” Obisanya adds. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Funke Obisanya)

The movie “Magda’s Lesbian Lover” by Nigerian director Elizabeth Funke Obisanya won the prize for best short film at the Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts (BEFFTA) awards ceremony in London on Oct. 30.

A scene from
A scene from “Magda’s Lesbian Lover.” Click the image to watch a trailer for the film. (Photo courtesy of British Council)

Obisanya praised BEFFTA founder Pauline Long for opening the awards to all.

“She broke the anti-gay wall that was placed on LGBTI creatives, even in the UK,” Obisanya said. “I can tell you. I have been around the black film festival block — even UK Nollywood — and they have ignored me. Some have even said it was because of the gay thing.”

“But Pauline said, ‘No discrimination!’ and every LGBTI creative should know that,” Obisanya said.

Pauline Long, BEFFTA awards founder and TV host (Photo courtesy of MissZimbabweUK.com)
Pauline Long, BEFFTA awards founder and TV host (Photo courtesy of MissZimbabweUK.com)

Long said of the gathering, “I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved. BEFFTA Awards has clocked 7 wonderful years celebrating African, Caribbean and Asian personalities; raising and praising a truly talented community. It has become the annual community award of the year that thousands look forward to attending.”

Obisanya is the screenwriter as well as the producer of “Magda’s Lesbian Lover,” which has been shown at many film festivals in the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany.

The Internet Movie Database describes three versions of the film — an original 29-minute one in Swedish and English, “Min Mamma alska Lesbiska”; an English version in which “Magda’s conflict with her homosexuality is seen more and her faith questioned,” and an eight-minute version consisting of “the beginning story – the coming of age.”

Obisanya, who is also a minister, described her experiences as an LGBTIQ Christian in the Nigerian podcast “No Strings” in June.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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