TIFF 2016: Here are the Nollywood stars featured at the festival

This year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is playing host to Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood in its first major debut on a world stage of this sort.

Artistic director of TIFF, Cameron Bailey paid a visit to Lagos at the start of the year and was stunned by the growth in the industry, the quality of the craft and the determination in Nigerian filmmakers to reach out to the world.

All of these led Bailey to put the spotlight on Lagos in the 2016 “City to City” programme. London, Mumbai, Athens and Seoul are some of the cities that have been featured in the past.

Eight Nollywood movies are on the lineup for screening at TIFF and they are some of the best to ever come out of the industry.

For the producers, directors and even the cast, it’s safe to say that the hard work has finally started paying off.

Two of the selected films were screened at the opening night to a global audience and they were met with resounding applause.

On the TIFF stage, these Nigerian filmmakers have won- the exposure, the acceptance, the accolades. By these ones, the bar has definitely been raised.

Here are some of the winners:

Mo Abudu: Media mogul and talk show host is the Executive Producer of the movie The Wedding Party.

In a powerful collaboration known as Elfike Film Collective, Abudu’s EbonyLife Films with FilmOne Productions, Inkblot Productions and Koga Studios brought this comedy movie that is posed to be a gamechanger to life.

This is the second time Mo Abudu is premiering a movie at an international film festival. In October 2015, her debut, high profile movie, Fifty was premiered at the BFI London Film Festival.

Kemi Adetiba: From music video directing to film directing, Kemi Adetiba’s well-developed craft is taking her places.

She is the director of The Wedding Party and the fact that she has put together an excellent film cannot be overemphasised.

This is her first outing in film directing on a global scale and a major feather added to her cap.

Bolanle Austen-Peters: The brain behind some of the best stage shows to ever come out of Nigeria, Bolanle Austen-Peters’ works speak excellence and finesse.

She has changed the face of the theatre industry with her very successful musical stage presentations, Saro and Wakaa. Both got international recognition and accolades in 2015 and now, she is making a debut at TIFF with 93 Days, a true-life story that centres on the men and women who fought to save lives and prevent what would have been a national catastrophe, the Ebola virus.

On this one, Austen-Peters partners with Dotun Olakunri, Steve Gukas and Pemon Rami.bolanle-austen-peters

Omoni Oboli: She is relentless and ever-evolving. Oboli’s comedy movie, Okafor’s Law is her third film-making effort in 2016 and it has brought her to this international stage.

Though there has been a brief controversy involving a Canada-based scriptwriter, Jude Idada, who claims Oboli stole his story idea, the movie is set to be screened at TIFF on the 12th of September.  

Banky Wellington: Popularly known as Banky W, his first lead role in a movie has taken him far beyond expectations. He is the lead actor in The Wedding Party where he co-stars with fast rising actress, Adesua Etomi.

The singer, music producer and co-founder of Empire Mates Entertainment is reaching for the stars in Nollywood.

The movie industry might see him winning more awards than he’s ever won in his musical career. Who knows?banky-w

Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama: She is an upcoming Nollywood actress but was cast in two of the eight movies showing at TIFF, The Arbitration and The Wedding Party. She first appeared on our screens as Yvonne in Ndani TV’s web series, Gidi Up.

Iyamah-Idhalama is not only attending TIFF, she is appearing alongside OC Ukeje as spotlight of the TIFF Rising Star programme.

Both of them will be participating in seminars, workshops and specialised programming at the festival.

The Nollywood movies screening at TIFF 2016 are: 93 Days, The Arbitration, 73, Green White Green, The Wedding Party, Okafor’s Law, Taxi Driver: Oko Ashewo, Just Not Married.

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