Inspiration behind ‘The Milkmaid’ – Desmond Ovbiagele reveals

Desmond Ovbiagele, popular Nigerian Filmmaker, has revealed the inspiration behind his movie ‘The Milkmaid’ which is a contender for the upcoming 2021 Oscars International Films Category.

Speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ovbiagele said that the movie was inspired by the two iconic figures at the back of the 10 Naira note on Monday.

He said, “The screenplay was inspired by the two iconic figures at the back of the 10 Naira note, those are the Fulani milkmaids who were carrying their calabashes.

“So I sought to imagine what would happen if the two characters were caught up in an insurgency situation. How would their lives play out and how would they adjust to the new way of life that would be imposed on them.”

Speaking on the adaptation of Hausa language for the movie, Ovbiagele said “one could have chosen the easier decision to shoot the film in English language, but because we were striving for authenticity, we didn’t think it would be authentic enough for people in that rural area setting to speak `Queens English’.

“What they would normally speak would be Hausa and the Fulanis would speak Fulfude. This is how we arrived at the language used in the film.”

The film showcases the natural beauty of Nigeria’s topography such as the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State while highlighting the richness of the subregion’s colourful Hausa and Fulani cultures.

Starring Maryam Booth, Anthonieta Kalunta, and Gambo Usman Kona, with US-based Nigerian surgeon Dr. Oluseun Sowemimo as its executive producer, the film follows Aisha, a Fulani milkmaid, searching for the whereabouts of her younger sister Zainab after a forced separation.

The Milkmaid received eight nominations at the 16th edition of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in December 2020, winning five awards for best film, best supporting actress, best Nigerian film, best film in an African language and achievement in make-up.

The Milkmaid was also in December announced by the 12-member Nigeria Official Selection Committee (NOSC) as Nigeria’s entry for the 93rd Oscars in the category of best international feature film, following a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and abroad.

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