UK, 2013
34 min
Performed and written by JOY ELIAS-RILWAN
Directed, filmed and edited by JANE THORBURN


Shot in England and Nigeria by Jane Thorburn, this evocative and original film builds on the experiences and emotional lives of West African women living in the UK separated from their families. The stories are based on news and court reports and Joy Elias-Rilwan’s own life, including voice mails left on her answer-machine by the legendary singer Nina Simone, her friend and self proclaimed ‘Spiritual Mother’. Joy features as herself narrating events from her past and as an actress portraying other West African women who are so desperate to reach Europe that they are prepared to risk their lives and those of their children in the attempt.
The film explores a contemporary visual language that centres around how a woman of West African origin inhabits an alien and sometimes hostile landscape. Through performance &environment the film juxtaposes sound and image in surprising ways to offer moving interpretations of identity politics and the place of a woman in two different societies. The film was made by Joy Elias-Rilwan and Jane Thorburn, one in front of and the other behind the camera. One born in Nigeria and the other in the UK. Working collaboratively they used their experience as practitioners to develop the film through the act of making it.

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