Several dignitaries, including the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Financial Institutions Training Centre (FITC), Chizor Malize, Rave TV Founder and Chief Executive, Agatha Amata, National Coordinator, Association of Nigerian Women Business Network, Modupe Oyekunle, Executive Director, Women In Management and Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), President, African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), musician, Nikki Laoye, UN Global Compact Senior Manager, Tumi Onamade, Host and CEOReb360, Tope Mark-Odigie, women leaders, actors, comedians, journalists, and others, came out in style to celebrate the premiere of CHATROOM, a timely movie set against the background of a dance reality television show.
The contemporary 98-minute star-studded movie boasts multiple award-winning actors like Tony Umez, Omawumi Megbele, Akpororo, Odunlade Adekola, Rykardo Agbor, Sambasa Nzeribe, Vivian Anani, Ibrahim Suleiman and is produced by Peju Ibekwe with Adesuwa Onyenokwe as its associate producer. The movie also stars Canadian trained actor, Nengi Adoki and Israeli actor, singer, and dancer, Ronya Man, Ghanaian actor, Kobby Acheampong, Cameroonian actor and dancer, Lea Dibebe, Joshua Ojo, actor and author, Damilare Kuku, among many others. It has unique themes of the power of one’s voice to transform society, gender-based violence, and mental health, among others.
Written and directed by award-winning director Chike Ibekwe, ‘CHATROOM,’ which is inspired by true-life events, tells the inspiring story of Ebiere who enters a dancing reality show to escape the haunting ghost of her past. Fate, however, has other plans for her as the experiences in the house blow up in her face with far-reaching consequences.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, CHATROOM tells a very relatable story that has embedded in it, subjects of envy to admiration, resilience amid pain, fear of trusting, denial to acceptance, love notwithstanding hurts, hope for a better future; all of these are beautifully crafted in the narrative making it an audience’s delight while addressing these critical issues. It also gives us a peek into what happens behind the scenes of a reality television show that audiences do not usually get to see.
Akpororo and Odunlade spare no emotion as they give us their best in this first-of-its-kind movie with their comical expressions which will leave viewers reeling with laughter intermittently while also taking in the essence of the movie. We also see Adesuwa Onyenokwe in a cameo role for the first time in a Nigerian movie doing her thing.
Speaking at the premiere, held at the Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, who was represented by the Director, Gender Affairs in the ministry, Friya Kimde Bulus, in a keynote address, said that the sustenance of gender equality perspectives should be coordinated in the plans, projects, and programs of the government, adding that the event could not have come at a better time than now.
She expressed delight to be part of the premiere of CHATROOM and commended the organizers for a job well done, adding that this will be geared toward meeting the targets of gender mainstreaming into policies across the country.
The private screening was attended by delegates from the British Council, Women’s Radio(WFM), the Nigerian Institute of Councilors, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), Sterling Bank, Association of Nigerian Women Business Network, a coalition of 63 female business associations in Nigeria, Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network (CBWN), Nigeria, Praise Fowowe Foundation, Lagos Island Connect, Sterling One Foundation, Bank of Industry and First Exploration and Petroleum Development Company, amongst others.
Other attendees included; founder and former chairperson of the Nigerian Network of Non-Governmental Organizations (NNNGO), Yemisi Ransome-Kuti, General Manager, Corporate and Investment Banking, Sterling Bank, Mojisola Bakare, Chief Human Resource Officer, Sterling Bank, Temi Dalley, Divisional Head, Health and Education, Sterling Bank, Obinna Ukachukwu, Group Head, propositions and Products, Sterling Bank, Abiodun Tomomero, Head, One Woman Proposition, Sterling Bank, Ifunaya Ugboko, founder, Lagos Island Connect, Yemisi Ransome Kuti, founder Ladybird Advertising, Bunmi Oke, His Masterpiece Church and National Coordinator, ANWBN, Pastor Rotimi Oyekunle and Pastor Modupe Oyekunle, Madam Beatrice Kallay, Sierra Leone High Commissioner to Nigeria and the Consul General, Ese Emerhi of the Global Funds Community Foundation, Chuks Ofulue of the PIND Foundation, Ayebatonye Basuo of First E&P, founder, X2D Nigeria, Deji Irawo, founder, ROOMS, Art Therapy and Orange House, Iniabasi Leye, founder Chitola Farms, Chitola Roberts, multiple award winning actor, Rykardo Agbor, Ronya Man, the President, Directors Guild of Nigeria and Head Judge of the African Movie Viewer’s Choice Award (AMVCA), Victor Okhai and Rtd. Colonel Olajide Fadirepo.
The event was also graced by Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, the Director, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability · The Coca-Cola Company, Sheila Ojei, Director, Strategy, Funding and Stakeholder Management at Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), Francesca Uriri, PR Maven and founder, Leading Ladies Africa, Pastor Capstone Resource Center and CEO, Whitefield Foundation, Pastor Tokunbo and Funmi Johnson, award-winning brand communications expert Damilola Owolabi, Kemi Dasilva-Ibru, founder, WARIF, Dr. Tolu Oko-Igaire, Provost, the Institute of Counselling in Nigeria, the Women’s Right Coordinator, Action Aid, Vivian Effem-Bassey, Resource Mobilisation Advisor, Anawiyat Yakubu, Action Aid, and Affi Ibanga, the National Coordinator of Women Entrepreneurs & Professionals Development Networks in Nigeria(WEPDN).
After the screening, attendees expressed delight in the movie and were excited to be involved in the movement that is currently topical especially in this season when Gender-Based Violence reports have increased and are at the center of conversation
The premiere also featured the launch of the virtual CHATROOM on the movie website, www.chatroomthemovie.com, a digital safe place where victims of abuse or mental health issues can break their silence and get needed help. The CHATROOM can be accessed as a guest, that is, anonymously, for those that do not want to disclose their identity. The professional counseling on the CHATROOM is supported by the Nigerian Institute of Counsellors and other partners while the toll-free line and cases that need additional attention beyond counseling ranging from medical to legal cases are supported by the Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF).
The movie has been released online and can be watched on www.afrocinema.tv.