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Title: Making 'The Supreme Price' : the theory and practice of a feminist documentary film in Nigeria
Author: Lipper, Joanna Helene
ISNI:       0000 0004 7227 0974
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2017
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This dissertation is presented in two related components. The first part is The Supreme Price, an award-winning, feature-length documentary film that I directed and produced about women and the pro-democracy movement in Nigeria. In 1993, Nigerians elected M.K.O. Abiola as president in a historic vote that promised to end years of military dictatorship. Shortly after the election, there was a military coup. General Sani Abacha seized power and had Abiola arrested and jailed. While Abiola was in prison, his wife, Kudirat Abiola, took over leadership of the pro-democracy movement. She was assassinated by agents of the military junta in 1996. M.K.O Abiola died in prison two years later under mysterious circumstances. The film interweaves past and present as this story is told through the eyes of their daughter, Hafsat Abiola, who was about to graduate from Harvard when her mother was murdered. Determined not to let her parents’ democratic ideals die with them, Hafsat returns to Nigeria after years in exile and is at the forefront of a progressive movement to empower women and dismantle the patriarchal structure of Nigerian society. The second part of my dissertation consists of written critical reflections on the theoretical, technical, artistic and pedagogical aspects of my feminist filmmaking practice, grounded in my historical research on the political culture in Nigeria. Taking an interdisciplinary, pluralist approach within a theoretical framework of transnational feminism, I incorporated analysis of both Western and African perspectives. I used biography, trauma studies, political science, geographical, economic and foreign policy analysis, extensive audio-visual archival research and photographs to provide a detailed historical backdrop and theoretical context for understanding the life and legacy of Yoruba, Muslim human rights activist, Kudirat Abiola. I explore her and her daughter’s usage of media platforms to amplify their voices across borders, strategically creating archived, historical multimedia records of their opposition to the military regime in Nigeria. Through discussion of my in-depth work with archival footage, and through describing the distribution, impact and outreach of the film, I aim to show how The Supreme Price functions to represent and preserve a key aspect of women’s history in Nigeria, filling a void in the Nigerian educational system where history as an academic subject has been eliminated from most primary and secondary school curriculums. In my roles as director, producer and cinematographer, my documentary filmmaking practice was itself an act of transnational, multicultural solidarity, collaboration and synthesis resulting in a final film that is a hybrid artefact – simultaneously feminist and African. This dissertation illuminates how The Supreme Price has broken new ground in Nigeria where Nollywood has been the dominant framework for film productions and the genre of independently-made, transnational, feminist, political, historical documentaries directed by women and focused on women’s lives and legacies is nascent.
Supervisor: Hickman, David ; Griffin, Gabriele Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available