Joel Kachi Benson’s documentary Daughters of Chibok has won the Best Virtual Reality Story Award at the 76th Annual Venice International Film Festival.
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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 (@timski67 and @joycectsang who taught me the importance of always “wrapping it in story”), @cobhamsasuquo who made the most incredible music for the #daughtersofchibok, 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 @imisi3d @iamaniwura @northeastihub @vr360stories @cobhamsasuquo @murphy_akande @timski67 @facey813 @iamshabz
Joel Kachi Benson, speaking at the ceremony, said he wanted to take the world to the women of Chibok, who still lived in pain five years after their daughters had been kidnapped.
With this VR Film, all I wanted to do was to take the world to the women of Chibok, who five years after their daughters had been kidnapped, are still living with the incredible pain of their absence.
I felt it was wrong for us to forget or even doubt and move on.Joel Kachi Benson – pulse.ng
Joel Kachi Benson is the founder and Creative Director of JB Multimedia Studios, an independent production company. He is known for his previous documentary work, In Bakassi.