After her successful debut as writer, director and producer of the award-winning film “Through the Glass,” A-List Nollywood actress Stephanie Okereke-Linus, a graduate of the New York Film Academy film school, is working on a new film-making project, titled “Dry,” that will further her mission of helping victims of vesico vaginal fistula (VVF). The feature film is the latest in Okereke-Linus’ myriad endeavors, which also include international acclaim as a model, style icon, and winner of the 2008 Beyond the Tears Humanitarian Award for her work against rape and VVF. VVF are holes resulting from a breakdown between the vaginal wall and the bladder or rectum, usually caused by days of a baby struggling to fit through the birth canal. In “Dry,” Okereke-Linus tells the story of two young girls trying to survive in a world of rejection and hopelessness brought on by their condition.
The film will raise funds to pay for VVF surgery and rehabilitation, and after its premiere, a mobile movie theatre will take it to African villages and towns, particularly those where VVF patients reside. Okereke-Linus has earned a reputation as Africa’s foremost actress, especially in Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry, which The New York Times reported to be the world’s third largest. In 2002, she became a household name in Nigeria for her performance in the movie “Emotional Crack,” which earned eight awards. Okereke-Linus herself won the 2003 Reel Awards for Best Actress English and Best Actress. The movie was screened at New York City’s 2004 African Film Festival.
Since then, Okereke-Linus has starred in more than 100 films. In 2006, she won the Afro-Hollywood Award and the Film Makers USA Award for Excellence, followed by the Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence in 2007. “Through the Glass” premiered in October 2008 at the Pacific Design Center in Hollywood, Calif. and won the Recognition Award from the California Legislature and the city of Carson. It opened in theaters across Nigeria in 2009 and was the country’s first film to gross over 10 million naira in its first week. The movie was nominated for African Academy Movie Award as Best Screen Play. In 2010, the film premiered in Switzerland, the first Nigerian movie to open in a Swiss cinema, and it also had a market screening at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010.
In 2010, Okereke-Linus was featured in the CNN documentary “50 years of Nigerian Independence.” That same year, she joined Hollywood A-list star Meryl Streep, for an exclusive stage reading of the play “Seven” at the Hudson Theatre in New York City as part of the Women in the World Conference, opened by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Okereke-Linus has been nominated three times for the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards. She was awarded Nigeria’s fourth highest award, Member of the Order of the Federal Republic. She also serves as a brand ambassador for LG Super 3D Smart Phone, Kanekalon, recently winning the Eloy award for brand ambassador of 2012 and a brand icon for numerous Nigerian fashion designers.