Hollyshorts Film Festival Reviews: Filmmaker Mo Abudu’s Short Films Feature Mental Health Theme

Nigerian filmmaker Mo Abudu has two short films she wrote and directed that I viewed as part of this month’s 19th Annual Hollyshorts Film Festival. Her directorial debut is with Her Perfect Life and Iyawo Mi (My Wife) films. Each one is about two distinctly different families regarding their socioeconomic status, and the matriarch in each family struggles with their mental health. Both titles are under Mo Abudu’s new label on the Mo Abudu Films slate.

Her Perfect Life is the story of Onajite Johnson Ibrahim (Pearl Thusi, “Quantico” TV series), a beautiful woman who appears to be happily married (spouse played by Joseph Benjamin, The Bargain, “Atlanta” TV series), and they have children. The mansion they live in, home décor, clothing, and hired help to reflect their wealth. She meets her lady friends for brunch and showers them with gifts, but not before she stands in front of the mirror in her home and practices the plastic smile to find the proper greetings for phone calls or in-person visits.

The actors portray authentic characters, the leads, and the supporting cast, including Omowunmi Dada, Uzo Osimkpa, Mary Lazarus, and Christian Paul. Onajite Johnson Ibrahim has learned to avoid depression and suicidal thoughts from her beloved family and adoring parents. Unfortunately, she feels she cannot convey her feelings and finds her outlet.

I am still waiting to receive information about the short being made into a feature-length film, but it is a perfect start to go forth with it. The cinematography is excellent, as well as the costuming for the actors.

Iyawo Mi (My Wife) features a married couple from a different home setting. It is small, simple, and crowded among neighbors in the same socioeconomic background. Kunle and Eniola have children, and while he has not yet arrived from work, she has a mental health breakdown. She threatens minors and adults with a knife, thinking everyone is out to kill her. Kunle returns from work to find the chaos and takes Eniola for treatment. Neither source he consults, a doctor at the hospital first, then leaders of his church, are influential. These problems show the audience how this family endures a tragedy as he desperately seeks assistance.

The ‘Iyawo Mi’ cast includes Adedimeji Lateef, Bolaji Ogunmola, Segun Arinze and Jude Chukwuka, Koye Kekere-Ekun, and Blessing Obasi in supporting roles. The actors are excellent as they portray the reality of the families in this situation. The cultural healers’ costumes are beautiful.

I found this story very interesting as it shows what resources families rely on when their financial status could be better. As much as Kunle is aware of the ritual belief healing by the leader, he is shaken to his core by the results he is presented with. It has excellent cinematography.

Both films have screened at the Cannes Short Film Corner and Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival this year before the Hollyshorts Film Festival. Mo Abudu is the CEO and Founder of EbonyLife Media.

Source: Mo Abudu Films ###

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