Nollywood takes centre stage at Toronto International Film Festival

By Benjamin Njoku

The Nigerian movie industry is bound to take centre stage at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival,TIFF, as the organizers have declared Lagos as the focus of one of the major events of the festival, City to City programme.

*Genevieve Nnaji and OC Ukeje with fans
*Genevieve Nnaji and OC Ukeje with fans

The City to City selection, curated by Cameron Bailey, artistic director of TIFF, will take place from 8 through September 18, 2016. “Hundreds of films are made every year in Lagos for a voracious audience around the world.

Our City to City spotlight brings some of Nollywood’s most popular filmmakers together with new voices who are introducing an alternative, indie spirit to Nigerian cinema,” said Bailey, adding: “We’re excited to share this unprecedented showcase of talent from Lagos with our Toronto audience.”

This is the eighth year for the City to City programme, which showcases filmmakers living and working in a selected city, regardless of where their films are set. Cities featured in past programmes, according to Bailey, were London, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Athens and Seoul.

However, the City to City Lagos line-up was announced during the week. The programme also includes a TIFF Rising Stars spotlight of two up-and-coming actors from Lagos, OC Ukeje and Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, as well as an ‘In Conversation With’, a segment that will feature top actress Genevieve Nnaji, and actor cum film producer, Kunle Afolayan.

About seven films from Nigeria will be screened at the festival. They  include, Mo Abudu’s “The Wedding Party”, “93 Days”, “The Arbitration”, “Green White Green” , “Just Not Married”, “Okafor’s Law”, “76”  and “ Oko Ashewo(Taxi Driver).” Also, there will be a special spotlight on Kunle Afolayan’s new film, “The CEO.”

Elfike Film Collective’s ‘The Wedding Party’, it was gathered, will premiere on the opening night as a selection of the Spotlight City to City  programme at the historic Elgin Theatre. The Kemi Adetiba directed romcom stars some of Africa’s biggest stars led by Richard Mofe-Damijo, Sola Sobowale, Alibaba, Iretiola Doyle, Banky W, and Adesua Etomi, with the stars of the film expected to attend the premiere.

“We are pleased to welcome The Wedding Party by award-winning filmmaker Kemi Adetiba to the Festival, and are proud to present it to a global audience,” said  Bailey. Meanwhile,one of the stars of ‘76’, Rita Dominic is storming Toronto, Canada, ahead of premiering of the blockbuster , which is set during the era of military assassinations in the country.

Nollywood takes centre stage at Toronto International Film Festival on Vanguard News.

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