A Short Story by Obinna Udenwe Optioned for Film & Television

We are excited to report that a short story written by one of our co-founders, Obinna Udenwe has been optioned for film and television by Bridget Pickering at Bump Films.

The short story titled “It Has to do With Emilia”, published in 2017 by Afreada, is an engaging, poignant and filmic tale about a very pious and religious woman in an intricate affair with a lonely, single man. In this story, Obinna Udenwe describes how the confines and expectations of religion can make people stifle their feelings and humanity, and the extend people can go to protect that which they believe is rightfully theirs.

Announcing the news on his social media handles, Obinna states that “this is the most awesome news ever, as we will get to see the characters which I created in my head and put to paper come alive on television….”

Here is a detailed press release by Obinna’s South African representative, Kgahuelo Dube who brokered the deal.  


Announcement on the Optioning of Obinna Udenwe’s Short Story “It Has To Do With Emilia” for Film and Television by Bump Films

The creative sector has been one of the hardest hit economic clusters during the global COVID19 pandemic due to the communal nature of how most artistic disciplines manifest. Most writers rely on speaking engagements at conferences and festivals and some commissioned writing gigs to generate an income. With publications closing shop and no end in sight to lockdown restrictions for literary conferences and festivals; news about rare development in the African literary sphere, like a story going to the screen, which not only puts money in the hands of the author, but repositions the literary industry to both artistic and economic growth is cheering. 

It is in line with this that we are excited to announce that an existing short story by the Nigerian writer, Obinna Udenwe – initially published by an online literary magazine, AFREADA has just been optioned by Johannesburg film producer Bridget Pickering at BUMP Films. The story titled “It’s Has To Do With Emilia” is a moody and sophisticated exploration of a forbidden love affair between an older, very religious Nigerian woman and a lonely man. The short story genre according to many writers is a treacherous literary rite of passage – what Udenwe has done by developing such a rich, human, nuanced and disturbing tale in a condensed format is nothing short of masterful. 

Read the story here: https://afreada.com/2017/08/26/it-has-to-do-with-emilia-by-obinna-udenwe/

It’s no coincidence that thriving film industries in the West particularly rely on original writing. It is a great concern that with an immemorial culture of storytelling, that African filmmakers rarely adapt stories written by authors, especially those from the continent. It is this reason that producer Bridget Pickering is actively pursuing African Literature as a drinking well of content and inspiration in her future film projects.

“I was born in Swaziland, raised in South Africa and my dad is Namibian: trans-Africanism is my life. I am a part of a film collective called “Collecting Treasures” with esteemed colleagues like Kethiwe Ngcobo that endeavours to bring and adapt more of our literary stories to the screen. Being a reader myself, “It’s Has To Do With Emilia” captivated me and left me wanting to see and visually experience complex, multilayered yet very normal African characters on screen,” says Bridget Pickering. 

The optioning deal was facilitated by Pretoria-based arts consultant Kgauhelo Dube’s Orenda Arts Collective. The consultancy has over the years positioned itself as an essential and creative service provider at varied touchpoints of the literary value chain. Dube was at the helm of facilitating this mutually dignified agreement between Udenwe and Pickering. 

“Outside of the very welcome economic boost to me during these trying times, I hope this collaboration inspires African filmmakers, especially Nollywood to see the serious value of having experienced writers on their production teams. Ultimately, good stories mean bigger audiences, industry recognition and seeing more of ourselves through our own lens.” concludes Udenwe. 

The script-writing is in progress, with Udenwe also being a part of the process as a script consultant. BUMP Films anticipates to begin principal photography on “It Has To Do With Emelia” sometime in 2021.