Two original Nigerian films make their debut and highlight topics that do not often find their way into commercial movies: Citation premieres in Lagos and Walking With Shadows is enjoying a two-day premiere at the British Film Institute Festival in London.
‘CITATION’ CASTS CHAIRMAN OF FIRST BANK IN LEADING ROLE
‘Citation’ is produced by award-winning filmmaker Kunle Afolayan and casts Ibukun Awosika in the leading role. Mrs Awosika is the Chairperson of First Bank Of Nigeria and was chosen because she plays a reading role in civil society advocating for gender equality.
The movie creates awareness and advocates for justice in cases of rape and sexual abuse, a topic that is of concern to everyone on the African continent, as this is one social ill that plagues almost every society today.
Ibukun Awosika plays the role of the dean of a university faculty who oversees the hearing in a case of sexual assault brought by a female student against her male lecturer.
In an interview with Nigeriagalleria.com, Mrs Awosika says of the casting experience:
“It has been the most enriching aspect of this film project; I am delighted to be part of such an amazing team of creatives in an intriguing and brilliantly scripted movie.” The screenplay was written by Tunde Babalola and the premiere was screened at Obafemi Awolowo University, Mrs Awosika’s alma mater.
‘WALKING WITH SHADOWS’ ADAPTED FOR THE BIG SCREEN
The adaptation of Jude Dibia’s novel for the big screen has been realized by veteran journalist and television talk-show host Funmi Iyanda, and has been hailed at the BFI London Film Festival as a timely appraisal of love and acceptance in a rigid cultural and religiously-charged environment.
It tells the story of Ebele Njoko, a young man whose need for acceptance leads him to create a fictional, alternate personality that he believes is more acceptable to society. When his skeletons come out of the closet however, the protagonist has to choose between his authentic identity and that of his alter-gay ego, Adrian.
When Fumni Iyanda approached director Aoife O’Kelly to write the screenplay adaptation and direct the movie, he wondered whether the dust had settled enough after the 2015 Africa39 Project ; this initiative brought together contemporary African artists from across the continent in Nairobi to collaborate on multi-disciplinary works.. Author Binyavang Wainaina caused a storm with his memoir: ‘I am a homosexual, mum,’ even though he is one of the most prominent Africans to have come out openly about his sexuality.
Fumni Iyanda says the story of Ebele Njoko in Walking With Shadows is full of gems that everybody will be interested in, and it gives a voice to the problems experienced by gay men in Africa.
Meanwhile, In Other News…
While social media is still buzzing with the story of Will Smith hitting Chris Rock at the recent Academy Awards, conventional media is watching Bella Naija, CEO of Nigeria’s EbonyLife Media, who held a press conference on April 12th to unveil a deal with Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith for ongoing Film Production collaborations.
In 2022 the partnership will co-produce two series and one film project, each showcasing developments and cultural narratives on the African continent. The two series are Dada Safaris and Are We Getting Married?
Dada Safaris is described as an Afropolitan dramedy series that revolves around the lead character’s discovery that her late husband inherited a long-forgotten family safari lodge.
Are We Getting Married ? is a comedy set in the United States about a wealthy Nigerian business magnate who falls in love with an African-American. When they decide to get married, the bride’s Nigerian family insists that the couple must return to Nigeria for a big, traditional Yoruba ceremony.
Speaking to the press about the deal with Westbrook Studios, Bella Naija could not contain her excitement:“ We all dream of lofty goals becoming a reality, then one day the dream comes true. Will and Jada have a goal to create powerful, inclusive content and this is perfectly aligned with our vision at EbonyLife. Together, by telling global African stories, we will be developing a range of content that reflects our shared goals.