Press Release: The Supreme Price A Film By Joanna Lipper
The Supreme Price is a feature length documentary film that traces the evolution of the Pro-Democracy
Movement in Nigeria and efforts to increase the participation of women in leadership roles. Following
the annulment of her father’s victory in Nigeria’s Presidential Election and her mother’s assassination
by agents of the military dictatorship, Hafsat Abiola faces the challenge of transforming a corrupt culture
of governance into a democracy capable of serving Nigeria’s most marginalized population: women.
In 1993 Nigeria elected M.K.O. Abiola as president in a historic vote that promised to end years of
military dictatorship. Shortly after, the election was annulled and a military coup brought General Sani
Abacha into power. M.K.O Abiola was imprisoned and his wife, Kudirat, took over the leadership of the
pro-democracy movement. She organized rallies and the longest oil workers strike in Nigerian history,
winning international attention for the Nigerian struggle against human rights violations perpetrated by
the military dictatorship. Because of this work, she too became a target and was assassinated in 1996.
Director Joanna Lipper elegantly dovetails past and present as she tells this story through the eyes of
their eldest daughter, Hafsat Abiola, who was about to graduate from Harvard when her mother was
murdered. Her father died in prison two years later.
Determined not to let her parents’ ideals die with them, Hafsat has dedicated her adult life to continuing their fight for democracy. Returning to Nigeria after years abroad, she is at the forefront of a progressive movement to empower women and dismantle the patriarchal structure of Nigerian society. A startlingly intimate rendering of the epic and tragic intergenerational Abiola family saga, THE SUPREME PRICE provides a unprecedented look inside of Africa’s most populous nation from the perspective of women, exposing a deep history of political corruption and a culture where a tiny circle of political elites monopolize billions of dollars worth of oil revenue while the vast majority of 165 million Nigerian people remain impoverished.
BIOGRAPHY OF FILMMAKER
Joanna Lipper is an award-winning filmmaker and Lecturer at Harvard University where she teaches Using Film for Social Change in the Department of African and African-American Studies. Her work as a documentary filmmaker has been supported by the MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, ITVS, Britdoc Foundation, theGucci Tribeca Documentary Fund, Women Make Movies and Chicken & Egg Pictures. Her latest documentary.
The Supreme Price, received the Gucci Tribeca Spotlighting Women Documentary Award and was named BestDocumentary at Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF). An extended trailer from the film was commissioned to launch Gucci’s Chime for Change Women’s Empowerment Campaign at TED 2013. Previous films Lipper has produced and directed include Inside Out: Portraits of Children (1996), Growing Up Fast (1999) and Little Fugitive (2006). Lipper is the author of the nationally acclaimed book Growing Up Fast. Her photography has been published and exhibited in the US and overseas.
For more information please visit: http://www.JoannaLipper.com
EXCERPTS FROM RECENT PRESS
The Supreme Price is a Door to Africa’s Recent History.” – The New York Times
The Supreme Price may sound like a metaphorical title, but after seeing this strong, forthright documentary, you’ll understand it’s the literal truth.” – Los Angeles Times
Ms Lipper has used previously unseen archive footage to great effect with the story moving effortlessly between past and present, talking heads and footage from the campaign trail, personal moments and public opinions. There are moments of terrible sadness… But Ms Lipper just as deftly includes moments of surreal comic horror… The themes are heavy: murder and injustice, in a country ravaged by oil money and military rule. It hardly sounds like a recipe for an uplifting film, but Ms Lipper has been careful to ensure that the story is more about going forward than dwelling on the tragedy of the past… it is surely a good thing that a film like this now exists, touching on the issues the kidnappings brought to life and showing how important women are to a country like Nigeria and why it is in everyone’s interest to listen to them.” – The Economist
Excellent… Lean, lucid… No hashtag activist, Lipper does an excellent job of using her film as a vehicle for the voices and concerns of Nigerians, and especially of Nigerian women, who are traditionally expected to stay at home while men operate in the public sphere.” – Village Voice & LA Weekly Critics Pick In her latest film, Joanna Lipper dives into the crucial fight to educate women on a local and global scale…. Lipper presents a comprehensive look at a complex history and masterfully weaves an evocative story of politics, justice and women’s rights that will undoubtedly resonate with viewers worldwide just as the April 2014 schoolgirls abduction has.” – BET
The Supreme Price is a deeply profound and beautiful experience, and an integral film to watch.” – Indiewire A critically acclaimed new documentary, The Supreme Price, tells the story of the Abiola family, which battled for gender equality and democracy in a nation where both have been repressed for decades.” – The Independent
The Huffington Post cites Joanna Lipper as one of the “finest and noblest” documentary filmmakers this year for her work on The Supreme Price. She “certainly succeeds with this one, catching a crucial moment in that explosive country where 200 girls have been lost, at best.” Some of the best documentaries tell inspiring stories of people overcoming the unthinkable… With an uptick in
kidnappings and killings, the situation in Nigeria is looking bleak. How exactly did the country get to such a state? Joanna Lipper’s film looks at the pro-democracy movement in the corrupt African nation but also gives a helpful tutorial on Nigerian politics.” – The Washington Post
Taking a long historical view of a troubled country struggling to emerge from a military dictatorship is Joanna Lipper’s documentary “The Supreme Price,” about Nigeria’s female-directed democracy movement. After a military coup in 1993, M. K.O Abiola, a pro-democracy leader who was considered the victor in aborted presidential elections that year but never took office, was imprisoned in 1994. Four years later he died under suspicious circumstances. After his imprisonment, his fearless, eloquent wife, Kudirat, took over the movement’s leadership but she was assassinated in 1996. The history is told through the eyes of their daughter Hafsat Abiola, a Harvard-educated crusader for human rights and democracy who now leads a movement to dismantle the country’s patriarchal structure.” – The New York Times
Director Joanna Lipper beautifully depicts the epic rise and controversial fall of the Abiolas, while uncovering the corrupt political and capitalist forces which lead to their untimely end…. Superbly shot and stirringly told… a beautiful thing to behold.” – StageBuddy
…Nigeria’s history is fleshed out in a new documentary called The Supreme Price. It’s a fascinating history lesson about the country and gives a compelling account of how Moshood Abiola’s senior wife, Kudirat Abiola, and their daughter, Hafsat Abiola, risked their lives to reinstate Abiola and fight for the pro-democracy movement in modern-day Nigeria.” – The Root
The Supreme Price Premieres in Lagos…. The documentary by Joanna Lipper is an unprecedented and personal look at the Abiola story.” – Nigerian Tribune