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David Oyelowo on Nollywood at TIFF: ‘We Are Storytellers and We Are About to Be Number One’

David Oyelowo's excitement to share what Nollywood has to offer with the world sets the tone during the City to City: Lagos opening at TIFF.

Clad in slick, maroon and golden-yellow Angelina fabric, David Oyelowo is pretty hype that the City to City: Lagos opening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is like one big long-lost Nigerian family reunion.


"This is the first time, in so long, I've been in a room with people who can say my name properly,” he says to the audience. “So I stand before you today as DAVID OYETOKUNBO OYELOWO.”

The City to City spotlight seeks to bring international cities to Toronto audiences. All eyes will be on eight films coming out of Nigeria’s cultural capital during this year’s TIFF—as they should be. Nollywood has been a mainstay for Nigerian film, and festival goers (and the world) will have the opportunity to see a sampling of impressive work from the $3.3 billion film industry.

“I have no doubt that this is the start of something absolutely fantastic for us, because we’ve been doing this for a long time—telling stories traditionally, filmically, poetically. We are storytellers by nature,” he continues.

In the clip below, you will see just that as Oyelowo weaves in impersonations of his father lamenting how people butcher his last name, how our parents give us that side-eye when we tell them we want to get into acting and how his experience living in Nigeria as a child and his Nigerian heritage shaped him to take his career with the utmost confidence.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

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