Brave accounts of abductions, violence and survival in TVO Original 'Captive' premiering February 16

Women and girls who escaped from Boko Haram tell their story to a Canadian journalist who shares a similar trauma
By TVO News - Published on Feb 10, 2021
Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung directs TVO Original 'Captive', premiering February 16 on TVO

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TVO Original Captive is a new documentary that features the stories of girls and women who live with physical and psychological trauma from captivity. Premiering Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 9:30 pm ET on TVO, then streaming anytime on tvo.org and TVO’s YouTube channel, this feature-length film interweaves two parallel stories of abduction and abuse: a small group of girls who escaped from the thousands kidnapped by Boko Haram over the past 12 years, and the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian journalist Mellissa Fung in Afghanistan. 


Captive is a challenging TVO Original documentary that provides much-needed space for survivors of trauma to tell their stories,” says John Ferri, TVO’s VP of Current Affairs and Documentaries. “Some of these stories may be difficult for viewers to hear, but what’s inspiring is how these girls and women are finding the strength to heal from their experiences and move forward with their lives.”


Filmed over four years, including several high-risk trips into northeastern Nigeria, writer-director Fung holds her lens to the story as she meets several brave young women who escaped captivity by Boko Haram and who are now trying to rebuild their lives in the face of community stigma. Turning the camera on herself, Fung reveals details about her experience with captivity and sexual violence, which she endured over 28 harrowing days as a prisoner of Taliban sympathizers in Afghanistan. 

A man filming in The Agenda studio

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“I have been haunted by the knowledge that countless girls are missing and held captive in Nigeria’s Sambisa forest, taken by Boko Haram,” Fung writes in a director’s statement. “I hope we can hear these stories in our search for answers. They are complicated, heartbreaking and ultimately uplifting.” 


“The devastation caused by Boko Haram is a continuing story of the utmost global importance. We hope this film will play a small part in bringing awareness to this crisis,” states Executive Producer Stuart Coxe.


Shot entirely in 4K, blending immersive hand-held camera work with cinematic African landscapes, TVO Original Captive reflects Fung’s storytelling skills as the bestselling author of Under an Afghan Sky and a documentary producer for CBC, Al-Jazeera and elsewhere. Her film offers viewers an opportunity to witness how girls and women are reclaiming their lives after experiencing unspeakable trauma. 


Watch the premiere on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 9:30 pm ET on TVO, or visit tvo.org and YouTube for streaming afterwards.

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