In 2014, one of the highest trending hashtags was #BringBackOurGirls, which was a global plea for the safe return of 276 girls who were kidnapped from their school in Chibok in the North East of Nigeria. The hashtag got huge international attention….and then it was gone. The world has largely moved on, and yet there are more than 100 girls who are still missing.
As a Nigerian and a former educator, Funa Maduka felt compelled to do something. She decided she wanted to give the Chibok girls a voice – we heard of them, but we rarely hear from them. So Funa and her producing partners decided to made a film which centres on one of the girls, Jessica, who came back, but who is still waiting for her best friend Hassana to return. Funa wanted to bring it back to the personal story, and make people pause to reflect on what for many of us is a story we have forgotten about.
‘‘Waiting for Hassana’ is Funa’s first film – she had never made a film before, and only stepped into the Director’s chair because they couldn’t raise funding to hire a director. The film has gone on to play at major film festivals, including the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, making it the first Nigerian film to debut at the film festival. Funa is also the first Nigerian woman to have a film premiere at the film festival.
Funa also talks about her time working as an Advisor at the Clinton Foundation; and her role as the first ‘Dean of Students and Director of Leadership Development’ for the inaugural class at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.