About: James is a filmmaker that wears many hats. James likes to call himself a creative entrepreneur. He founded the James Amuta company, a bespoke media production company that started by representing big clients with marketing materials. From the government, big hotels, documentaries, and infomercials. James is a cinematographer, producer, director, writer, and poet.
Joadre: You are working on a new film called BiCurosity. What is it about?
James: The story is about a young woman who attended an all-girls school. Ten years later, she wants to get married but doubts her sexuality. We know these stories. They are everywhere, but no one wants to talk about them. BiCurosity is about the truth of what happens in our society in Nigeria. Some things we choose to sweep under the rug. I say it is an anti-homophobia film. But some would decide to call it a pro homo film. But let’s stick to the fact. It is an anti-hate film. Bicuriosity is a conversation starter.
Joadre: What was your experience shooting Bicurosity?
James: It was magical to shoot Bicurosity.
There is a mental health aspect to it. Imagine the mental turmoil some people must go through because they are trying to figure out how to be themselves or find help in a society that has prescribed jail terms. With this film, I want to tell you how it is, and you form your opinion, come to your own conclusions and judge for yourself.
Joadre: What motivated you to handle this topic in your film?
James: We are all guilty in one way or the other in perpetuating homophobia. It starts very innocently. I went to an all-boys school, and in my school, some boys were more in tune with their femininity. But you had the alpha males, those who get into mischief, the bullies, the sports champions, and the popular boys, which often excluded the more feminine-inclined boys. These were young boys who were in touch with their feelings. Those masculine bullies were rather not man enough to face their feelings. There was no sexual orientation back then in my teenage years, so bullying such boys who did not fit the definition of masculinity was acceptable in society.
I remember an incident back then in school called “Iliokua”. Today, I am still trying to understand what it really means. But back then, in the 90ties, it was used to refer to same-sex intimacy. So some boys at school were interrogated for having an intimate relationship. My old school was founded around 1925 before Nigeria existed in this form. The school’s image is more important than the children’s mental health. After the incidents, during the PTA meeting, parents were informed that the boys had committed an unprintable offence. The school management then could not mention or name what it was. The boys could not be expelled because it would raise questions. But as a child, what struck my curiosity, was that the reports could not name the offences. How bad is it that what they did that it had no vocabulary? We were called to an assembly. We were also instructed not to talk about it. It became a boarding school secret to take to your grave.
According to Wikipüedia: Bi-curious is a term for a person, usually someone who is a heterosexual, who is curious or open about engaging in sexual activity with a person whose sex differs from that of their usual sexual partners.
Joadre: Is the time right now for us to have the conversation?
James: Oh yes, the time is right. I am talking about something that happened in 1994 back then. How do these boys feel now? How is that state of mind? How was the issue resolved back then?
Joadre: Being a controversial topic, was it a challenge to get the crew and cast for this film?
James: Oh yes, getting actors to play this role was challenging. Many acknowledged that it was a powerful story but were scared it might dent their image. I cannot endorse it. I do not want trouble. But what they need to know is that this is art. I understand them to an extent because this country has a lot of hypocrisy – you could be tagged, and many people will not want to work with you anymore.
- We will keep you updated about where to watch this film in the future.
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