‘Chokehold’ movie delivers the message that domestic violence is unacceptable

    ‘Chokehold’ movie delivers the message  that domestic violence is unacceptable

The Chokehold cast at the Friday press conference: from left; Simeon Henderson, Enyinne Nwigwe, Director Joel Ayuk (standing), Kenneth Okolie, Oremeyi Kareem, and Sherando Ferril. (Robert Luckock photo).

MARIGOT--Timed to coincide with International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women, the premiere of locally-produced and -directed film “Chokehold”, written and directed by Joel Ayuk, took place at Caribbean Cinemas on Saturday night with the main actors in attendance.


Lead actress Sherando Ferril on the red carpet with Director Joel Ayuk.

Replicating a Hollywood premiere with red carpet, photo calls and a VIP reception, the international cast were dressed to the nines for the occasion.

Among prominent personalities from the community, Vice Presidents of the Collectivité Alain Richardson, Bernadette Davis and Dominique Louisy were present to support the film, as well as Territorial Councillor Martine Beldor.

Anticipating a large turnout, the 1½-hour film produced by CANI TV Studios was shown in two theatres. The storyline was based on true events, situations to which victims all over the world can relate, with the cast giving compelling performances.

The lead character Victoria (Jamaican actress Sherando Ferril), is constantly being abused and physically assaulted by her policeman husband Mike (Nigerian actor Enyinne Nwigwe) who is wrestling with his own demons and alcohol, but loves his wife.

Victoria is in denial about her husband’s behaviour despite the concerns of Mike’s police partner Tom (Simeon Henderson from Chicago) and Tom’s wife Sophia (Oremeyi Kareem from Nigeria but living in Kentucky, USA) and Randy (Kenneth Okolie). Victoria Duchene plays a therapist and local actress Aliyah plays Victoria’s daughter Candace.

Well received by the audience and complemented with beautiful drone footage of the island, recognisable locations and a dramatic film score, the tension in the film continues to build until it ends in a shocking climax.

“There was a deeper conflict in this movie than other roles that I’ve played, to be a monster on the set on one hand and then compartmentalise to get back to who I am,” said Mike’s portrayer Enyinne Nwigwe.

Said Sherando Ferril: “For me the greatest challenge was that the Victoria character is the opposite of me. I’m not the kind of person who gets hit and goes away and cries. I hit back. That made the role more interesting for me as an actress because I had to delve into emotions I had never experienced. I did a lot of work to understand the psychology of the character. Enyinne did scare the crap out of me at times.”

Simeon Henderson (Tom) said it was refreshing to play the good cop, compared to playing the bad guy whether it is in “Chicago PD” or “Empire”. Oremeyi Kareem (Sophia), who supports Victoria, said her role was relatable, as she knew people who were victims.

“It was an amazing experience for me. When I did the research for this movie I found that Kentucky where I come from is the number one state in America for domestic violence,” Oremeyi said.

Director Joel Ayuk said the biggest challenges in making the film were finding the right talent, from the actors to the technical crew; finding the budget; raising funds; and explaining the vision of the project to government, sponsors, etc.

“I’m very happy to be the first to have made a full-length feature film on the island at this level with an international cast. I hope it opens doors to other film-makers to show that they can make a film on St. Martin. We just need the support of government to create a film industry and opportunities here.”

The Daily Herald

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