Writer and Director; Nkem Nwaturuocha and Disrupt DNA Studios convey a heartbreaking narrative on “Child Marriage” in their animated short film, Song Maiden.
In the animated short film-Song Maiden, Writer and Director; Nkem Nwaturuocha, Producers; Uzoma Dozie, Kelechi Dozie and the team at Disrupt DNA Studios set out to depict a vivid and harrowing account on the evils of ‘Child Marriage’.
Song Maiden tells the story of a maiden, who is ensnared into a marriage the minute she is welcomed into this world. Haunted by the foreboding shadow of her father till she is handed over for marriage, she is driven to a point of no return that tips her over the edge and into a downward spiral.
Positioned as a powerful critique of the impact of child marriage on young girls in Nigeria, the animated short film echoes th e terror that child brides face every day. Child marriage is an ugly social and human rights issue that deprives children of their freedom to education, health, life and opportunities.
Breathtaking; yet simple, the art piece is a visual feast that takes us through the life of a maiden, from childhood to adolescence through an evocative series of illustrations. The sublime art piece is a 2D frame-by-frame animation, with rich monochrome sketches to portray the bleak, emotive scenes. Minimal splashes of colour punctuate the animation, to bring a riveting and vivid emphasis on objects of importance. The plot contrasts the joys of childhood with a jarring reality of child marriage, child abuse and suicide. Offering no dialogue, screams and emotions are all we have to understand the maiden’s plight, as she is the voice of millions of child brides.
The animated short film was exhibited at Fame Week 2022 in Cape Town where it was met with much positive feedback and critiques. The film has already gathered collaborations, possible sponsorships, as well as interests and is being considered for film festivals around the world. Receiving high acclaim from purveyors of freedom for the girl child, conversations are being struck up online to raise awareness on child marriage, expose its evils and put a permanent end to it. Already, “the global number of child brides is now estimated at 650 million, and if we do nothing, more than 110 million girls will marry before their 18th birthday over the next decade.” (Source: UNICEF) It is the hope of the creators, that through the film, more people will join the movement to protect young girls from the far-reaching effects of child marriage.
Hillary of Tharevue.com pegged the animated short film as crisp and fluid. Giving some insight into his thoughts on the theme and style, he said;
“I love it! The monochromatic tone is an absolute fit because it is foreboding of unhappiness and a life devoid of colour. The red band as the only source of light and colour is such a stark irony since it marked her for doom. The lack of voice also foreshadows the silence of society to this really desperate social malaise of child brides. It is a great job!”
The reality remains that despite laws which prohibit child marriage, it remains a common practice in many parts of Nigeria and Africa. Sadly, the concern for young girls is obscured by religion and cultural values. Song Maiden is a protest piece by Nkem and the team, intended to shock the audience into action against child marriage and nip in the bud, its ugly rearing head. The story is an all too common occurrence around the world- a girl caught in a web of deception, deceit and manipulation. Hence, the animated short emphasizes the importance of raising awareness to a practice that continues to plague many countries. To curb this unending cycle of injustice against young girls worldwide, sign this petition https://chng.it/TyBrLvnz against child marriage.