WMU News

Film by WMU's Paul Nwulu premieres at 'African Cannes'

March 28, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A Western Michigan University faculty member traveled to the West African country of Burkina Faso this month to premiere his film "Starting Over" at the 18th annual Pan-African Film Festival, known in the film industry as FESPACO, or "the African Cannes."

Paul Nwulu, assistant professor of communication, wrote and produced the movie about a young university student who becomes infected with HIV and the stigma that goes along with having the disease. The film was shot in Nigeria during the summer of 2002.

The main character, a 24 year-old university student, is also the son of a well-known pastor in his community, a choice Nwulu says was essential to the story. "Religion is very important in Nigeria, and the lack of knowledge about the disease sometimes comes from religious leaders. Those with HIV are viewed as having not lived a good life, and as a result, have been cursed with the disease."

The film will be aired on the Ghana, Nigeria and Tanzania national networks. Nwulu is also working with HIV awareness groups in Nigeria to distribute free copies to two-person teams that will travel to high schools across the country to show the film.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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