Joel Benson’s “Daughters of Chibok” has won a Lion Award in the Virtual Reality category of the Venice Biennale.
The VR documentary film jointly produced by Northeast Humanitarian Innovation Hub (NEHIH) and the VR360 Stories, depicted a particular mother who is keeping all the personal effects of her abducted daughter.
‘Daughters of Chibok’, has been selected as the only virtual reality (VR) film from Africa to have its world premiere at the prestigious Venice Film Festival in the United States.
The producer of the movie, Joel Benson, shared the touching story of how he went from growing up being homeless to standing on a world stage to receive an award.
Last week I shared pictures and a message of how grateful I was to be at the Venice Biennale, rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names and the best minds in the world of virtual reality.
For me it was great, just to be here, and have my film play alongside theirs. That was enough for me. I never knew there was more to come. As the festival began to wind down, I remember asking the curator if he’d be able to squeeze me in to attend the closing ceremony so I could watch the awards been given out, and he smiled and said he’d see what he could do to get me in. Two days ago he called me and said there’d be no need for that…our film #daughtersofchibok would be receiving an award, so I’d have a seat reserved for me. And so here we are, bringing home The Lion award for Best VR Story.
The young boy who roamed the streets of Ijeshatedo during the day and slept in empty churches at night because he had no home to go to, is now on the world stage. Now if that’s not God, I don’t know what is. I thank everyone that has supported me on this crazy incredible adventure…my wife, my friends, my teachers, and my team who’ve had to deal with all my mood swings and mad experiments. God has been too kind to me…I don’t know why…but I’m grateful.
I’d have loved to end this with something profound, but I’ll just repeat what the someone in Venice said to me, and hope that it inspires someone – “Joel, you’re this guy that no one had ever heard of, who just came out the blues, and now you’ve put your country on the world’s vr map. You just proved that with faith and courage anyone can soar to the top”. #daughtersofchibok#virtualrealityworld#virtualrealitynigeria#labiennaledivenezia