‘The Milkmaid’ is Nigeria’s Entry For 93rd Oscars

“The Milkmaid” is Nigeria’s official tender for the 93rd Academy Awards in the International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Oscars. This was announced by the Nigerian Official Selection Committee (NOSC) on Tuesday.

The Milkmaid was one of the films that responded to the announcement by Nigerian Oscar Selection Committee (NOSC) calling for feature film entries by Nollywood filmmakers into the 93rd Academy Award (Oscars).

NOSC said it received several entries, out which six films – “Sanitation Day”, “Voiceless”, “Oloture”, “Ibi” (The Birth), “The Milkmaid” and “Eyimofe” – sailed through the initial vetting exercise. And at the final stage according to the organisers, “The Milkmaid” scored overwhelming majority votes.

The 12-man NOSC headed by filmmaker and education administrator, Chineze Anyaene-Abonyi said it followed the prescribed procedures by the Academy, subject to further determination by the IFF Executive Committee to nominate the entry.

NOSC describes the process of selection as intense, democratic, and a worthy development for the Nigerian film industry.

“The Milkmaid” is a Hausa language-based thriller on insurgency, especially as it affects women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inspired by the image on Nigeria’s 10 Naira note, the film written, produced and directed by Desmond Ovbiagele tells the story of a Fulani milkmaid who confronts religious extremists in a rural African community, in a quest to locate her missing sister, and how efforts to recapture her disrupted past prove complicated.

Shot on location in Taraba State, North-East Nigeria, “The Milkmaid” stars popular northern Nigerian actress, Maryam Booth, alongside Ibrahim Jammal, Anthonieta Kalunta, and Gambo Usman Kona among others. The film owes its other credits to New Jersey-based surgeon, Oluseun Sowemimo as Executive Producer, Yinka Edward for Cinematography, Chuka Ejorh for Editing, Pat Nebo for Production Design, and Hakeem Onilogbo for Special Effects.

Already, the film is screened in cinemas in Nigeria, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe. “The Milkmaid” is an authentic and riveting Nigerian story with global relevance. It commands beautiful acting, ace directing, and great cinematography. The film is Ovbiagele’s sophomore, having written, produced and directed the award-winning “Render to Caesar” in 2014.

According to Anyaene-Abonyi, there is a significant improvement in the quality of films received this year. “The Academy’s approved parameters had to be diligently followed to select the country’s entry without prejudice. And I must say that the Nigerian film industry is awakened to the internationally acceptable requirements for film production, though there would always be room for improvement in order to increase our competitive outlook every year,” she said.

The 93rd edition of the Academy Awards is scheduled to hold on April 25th, 2021.

It would be recalled that last year, Nigeria’s official submission, “Lionheart”, was disqualified for not meeting the non-English dialogue criteria, leading to the controversy on whether or not Nigerian pidgin should not be considered a local language. But the rule has been reviewed, giving approval for dialogues in pidgin.

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