News Brief

These 8 Nigerian Films are Coming to the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival for its Lagos “City-to-City” Spotlight

The Wedding Party,’ ‘93 days,’ ‘The Arbitration,’ ‘Okafor’s Law,’ ‘76,’ ‘Green White Green,’ ‘Just Not Married’ and ‘Taxi Driver’ have been handpicked to premiere at TIFF this year.

There will be a touch of Nollywood glamour this year at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival.

As part of its Lagos-themed “City to City” spotlight, TIFF will be spotlighting eight new films reflecting the new wave of cinema coming out of Nigeria’s cultural capital. Audiences will have the opportunity to see premieres of films The Wedding Party, 93 daysThe Arbitration, Okafor’s Law, 76, Green White Green, Just Not Married and Taxi Driver.

Inspired by his first visit to Lagos, festival artistic director and curator Cameron Bailey made the Lagos “City to City” selection announcement in April. We're wondering what's taken so long for this $3.3 billion film industry to finally receive silver screen recognition in the international city?

“Vital, complex and inspiring, Lagos is entirely unique. The city of Fela Kuti’s music has also given birth to one of the world’s most vibrant film industries,” Bailey says. “Bigger budgets, greater artistic ambition – the new cinema of Lagos is bold, exciting, and ready to take its place on the international stage. We’re excited to share the creativity of this remarkable city’s filmmakers with TIFF audiences in September.”

TIFF’s solid lineup spotlighting gallant works by Nigeria’s cutting edge filmmakers will expose a whole new audience to this industry taking Africa and the world by storm.

Let’s have a look at this year’s cinematic catalog:

1. The Wedding Party

Award-winning director Kemi Adetiba’s romcom, featuring some of Africa’s biggest names Richard Mofe-Damijo, Sola Sobowale, Alibaba, Iretiola Doyle, Banky W, and Adesua Etomi, has been selected to open TIFF’s first night, which is quite a prestigious honor. This is the second time an EbonyLife movie has been screened at an International Film Festival. It’s part of a collab between leading African film houses: EbonyLife Films, FilmOne Distribution, Inkblot Productions and Koga Studios.

Written by playwright Tosin Otudeko and Kemi Adetiba, the Elfike Film Collective production tells the story of a 24-year-old art gallery owner and only daughter of her parents who is about to marry the love of her life, IT entrepreneur Dozie (Banky W). Audiences will get a glimpse into what the first night of marriage is like for a couple that has committed to a vow of chastity.

2. 93 days

This is Steve Gukas’ thriller based on the true stories of the fearless healthcare workers in Lagos who waged battle against the Ebola outbreak of 2014. Bimbo Akintola, Danny Glover and TIFF up-and-coming actress Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama star.

3. The Arbitration

Starring Nollywood actors stars such as Sola Fosudo, Ireti Doyle, Somkele Iyamah, Beverly Naya, Gregory Ojefua, the film is about Genga’s (O.C Ukeje) encounter with an arbitration panel after former employee and ex-lover Dara (Adesua Etomi) sues, accusing him of rape.

4. Okafor’s Law

Omoni Oboli, the same director who brought us hit Wives on Strike, casts Blossom Chukwujekwu, Ufuoma McDermott, Toyin Aimakhu, Richard Mofe Damijo, Ken Erics, Gabriel Afolayan, Halima Abubakar, Mary Lazarus, Yvonne Jegede, Betty Irabor, Uche Nnaji for this bawdy comedy that brings to life the story of a fuccboi who bets his friends he can get rekindle romances with three exes in six weeks. Mtchew, what goes around comes around…

5. 76

Thwarted 1976 military coup against the government of General Murtala Mohammed sets the backdrop of this riveting drama, featuring headliners Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, and Chidi Mokeme of the Nollywood scene.

6. Green White Green

This Abba T. Makama-helmed coming-of-age satire wonders out loud what does means to be a modern Nigerian? When Okayafrica caught up with Makema, he described the film as “ beautiful mosaic of madness.” Ifeanyi Dike, Jamal Ibrahim, Samuel Robinson, Crystabel Goddy, Okey Uzeoshi, Bimbo Manuel, Eric Didie, Donatus Ekwuazi, Donald Jonah, Meg Otanwa, Abubakar Yakubu, Dabis Christopher, Omoye Uzamere form the ensemble cast who tell the story of three young and angsty bohemians, each representing Nigeria’s major ethnic groups, searching for meaning in their lives in the months leading up to their departures to their respective universities.

7. Just Not Married

Directed by Uduak-Obong Patrick, this likeable caper-style flick shows what happens when a broke undergrad gets more than he bargained for after starting a fledgling criminal operation. “Just Not Married” stars Judith Audu, Stan Nze, Rotimi Salami, Roland Obutu and Brutus Richard.

And last, but not least…

8. Taxi Driver

Daniel Emeke Oriahi guides this film noir production, set amidst the commotion of Lagos, takes viewers for a ride when mechanic-turned-cabbie for the mob becomes entranced by a melancholy prostitute. Catch Femi Jacobs, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Odunlade Adekola and Afeez (Saka) Oyetoro on the big screen.

If you can hop a flight to The 6, be sure to discover or fall in love with Nollywood again at the Toronto International Film Festival running from September 8 through 18.


Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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