‘The Milkmaid‘, a film by Desmond Ovbiagele, has continued to pull the strings since it was released. 


The project won the ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Film in an African Language’, ‘Achievement in Makeup’, and ‘The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) Award for Best Nigerian Film’ categories at the 2020 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) held in December.

It also emerged Nigeria’s only movie selected for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category of the 93rd Academy Awards better known as Oscars.

The executive committee for the International Feature Film (IFF) category of the Oscars had in January confirmed the eligibility of the movie as Nigeria’s submission.


Here’s all you need to know about the project which has snagged positive reviews, awards as well as recognition.

Ovbiagele said the movie was shot to give a clearer picture of the psychological ordeals of victims of insurgency

Danono Media’s debut feature film

‘The Milkmaid’ is the debut feature film by Danono Media, a movie company, founded by Ovbiagele in 2018.



The movie addresses the issues faced by women caught in the upheaval of insurgency in rural sub-Saharan Africa using the story of Zainab and her sister who were separated by insurgents.

It also examines the trauma of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well as girls forced into early marriage.



The movie was shot in selected locations in Taraba state. The areas include Jalingo, the state capital, Gashaka as well as the scenic Mambila Plateau — the focal point of the heroic dispersion of the Bantu tribe across the African continent about 3,000 years ago.


The movie is a mixture of Hausa, Fulfulde as well as Arabic while it is subtitled in English.

Anthioneta Kalunta and Gambo Usman Kona

Artistic approach


‘The Milkmaid’ was filmed using a combination of the Arri Alexa mini camera and Cooke optics anamorphic lenses, with the aim of creating indelible cinematic images that would highlight the story’s dramatic qualities and enrich its texture.

Director’s statement

In an interview with TheCable Lifestyle, Ovbiagele said ‘The Milkmaid’ was shot to give a clearer picture of the psychological ordeals of victims of insurgency in northern Nigeria.

“There were a number of approaches I could have taken in realising the story. It could easily have been an action film, just based on the physical confrontation between soldiers and the insurgents but I was more interested in exploring the mindset of both the victims and the extremists,” he had explained.


Production crew

The Milkmaid

The movie stars Ibrahim Jammal, Maryam Booth as Zainab, Gambo Usman Kona, as well as Anthonieta Kalunta as Aisha. Others are Patience Okpala, Abubakar Mohammed, Umar Magaji, Nasiru Musa and Faruq Usman Kona.

‘The Milkmaid’ was written, produced and directed by Ovbiagele with Oluseun Sowewimo as executive producer.

Some other members of the crew include Yinka Edward (director of photography), Chuka Ejorh (editor) and Pat Nebo (production designer).

Watch the trailer below:

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