This year’s Marrekech International Film Festival officially kicked off last week Friday, in Morocco, and is slated to end December 8. A celebration of Moroccan cinema with movies like Stateless (Narjiss Nejjar) and Sophia (Meryem Benmbarek), Genevieve Nnaij’s Lionheart, which gained film festival popularity at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, was among the lined-up movies screened at MIFF. Nnaji’s Instagram captured the moment after the screening of Lionheart when she was introduced on stage. “Salam Aleikun,” she greeted, which was followed by an eruption of cheers.
Many first-time directors are known for starring in their projects and in Lionheart, Nnaji plays Adaeze, a levelheaded executive in her father’s bus company. Per the plot synopsis, Adaeze has proven her keen ability to make a profit and to manage the most heated situations. But when her father (stalwart star Pete Edochie) falls ill, both she and her rival (Kalu Ikeagwu, boosting the marquee cast) are passed over in favour of Adaeze’s less-than-suave uncle, Godswill, who is comically played by Nkem Owoh.
Determined to fight her way to the top but not wanting to go against her father’s wishes, Adaeze feels like the proverbial bus has left the station without the driver. She must quickly shift gears, however, when she and Godswill discover that Lionheart is financially running out of fumes, together, the unlikely duo must come together to save the company and their family name. Lionheart isn’t just significant as Nnaij’s first directorial tryout – streaming giant Netflix announced its acquisition of the movie and subsequently, Nnaji signed a deal with United Talent Agency (UTA), the same renowned talent agency representing a glut of actors like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.