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(Original movie poster for Bed of Thorns)

First All-Female Made Film in Uganda Wins Art House Prize in UK

Bed of Thorns, a movie about gender-based violence, takes home the Africa Focus Award.

This weekend saw a film from Uganda, Bed of Thorns (#Tosirika), claim the Africa Focus Award at the London Art House Film Festival. The film, directed and produced by Eleanor Nabwiso, tackles the subject of gender-based violence by weaving together the many tales of abuse within a circle of women as they prepare for their friend's wedding—not knowing that she, too, is being abused by her soon-to-be-husband. Comedian Martha Kay and media personality Malaika Tenshi made their film acting debuts to help tell the tale. The film also featured an all-female crew for the first time in Ugandan history.


In an interview with BBC, Nabwiso said, "This is the first ever all-female made movie from Uganda. That means the director of photography, the producer, the sound engineer—everyone is female." Perhaps it is due to the crew that such a nuanced film could be made about a difficult and complex subject. The film was first released in March to support the month celebrating women, but it is also intended to enact change. As Nabwiso says, "It's about time we stopped this nonsense."


Tosirika, a hashtag that accompanies the film's title, means 'don't keep quiet' in Luganda. According to Nabwiso, that is the message of the film. "We call these 'bedroom matters'—keep it in your bedroom, talk about it in your bedroom. If he's beating you in your bedroom and you come out of that door, you must smile to the world. This is wrong. Come out, speak out, tell somebody about it," she said to the BBC.

Nabwiso plans to make more films around gender-based violence and the many forms it comes in such as cyber-bullying and emotional torture. She wants to show the detail and consequences this type of violence has on society, on the psyche and on women. Check for those films in the future and watch the trailer for the award-winning Bed of Thorns (#Tosikira) below, it does contain some graphic images.


Bed of Thorns Official Trailer HD - Nabwiso films youtu.be

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Left to right: Images courtesy of Kwame Onwuachi, YouTube, and SUMY SADURNI/AFP via Getty Images

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