Prominent Nigerian actress and award-winning filmmaker Stephanie Okereke Linus wanted to make a film that drew attention to a set of serious and closely related problems in her country: child marriage, sexual violence, and fistula. Her latest film, Dry, tells the story of 13-year-old girl whose parents marry her off to a 60-year-old man, with devastating consequences.
The Ford Foundation-supported film has been received with great acclaim, including being honored as Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards Film of the Year in Nollywood. As a result, the film is sparking conversations about gender inequality in Nigeria and beyond.
On Twitter, we talked to Okereke Linus about her powerful film and the urgent issues at its heart.
In our conversation, Okereke Linus explained that Dry is based on true stories of child brides who have fistula, a condition that leaves a hole between a woman’s vagina and her bladder or rectum—and often results from absent or inadequate reproductive health care during birth. Girls who are married as children are particularly at risk, because their bodies aren’t mature enough to bear children. Aside from its painful physical impacts, women and girls with fistula are often ostracized by their communities.
Tell us more about the real girls behind the movie.
Was there a particular girl whose story affected you the most?
How does inequality perpetuate fistula cases and child marriage?
What impact do you think and hope your film can have on these issues?