Lagos — NOLLYWOOD will on July 31 witness a revolution in film making as the movie entitled Ije premieres in Lagos.
Produced and directed by Nigerian international filmmaker, Chineze Anyaene, founder of Xandria Productions, the movie that stars Nigerian screen goddesses, Omotola Jalada-Ekeinde, and Genevieve Nnaji as well as Nollywood star, Clem Ohameze, alongside international stars such as Odalys Garcia, Jeff Swarthout and Ulrich Que, will also be premiered in the UK, U.S. and other European countries between now and next year. Immediately after the Lagos premiere, Ije, (The Journey), will make its round in local cinemas across the country.
Since its production, the movie shot on 35mm, has already made headway, winning several awards, being nominated and chosen as official selections in many film festivals around the globe. These awards include Excellence in Filmmaking, Best Editing and nominations include Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Feature Film and Best Feature Film Screenplay.
It has made appearances and received accolades at film festivals such as Swansea Bay International Film Festival with Festival Patron Catherine Zeta-Jones and Festival Vice President Michael Sheen; International Youth Film Festival with Patron Sir Anthony Hopkins and the highly regarded Boston International Film Festival that holds in Boston, MA. With AMC Theatres (the largest chain of movie theatres in the U.S.) as one of its sponsors, the Boston film feast draws a large following, and it also has many other influential sponsors that include BET, A&E Television, Bravo TV, AMC TV, Microsoft, American Express and JVC among others.
The director of Ije traced the origin of Nigeria's breakthrough in film to the making of Living in Bondage.
"Nigerian filmmaking officially splashed on the scene in 1992 with the blockbuster success of Living in Bondage, believed by many to be the watershed film event that launched Nollywood as an internationally recognised creative force. In the last 17 years, Nollywood has risen into its own. Producing over 2, 000 films worth over $250 million per annum, Nigeria's film centre is credited with employing a conservative estimate of 500,000 people up to one million. Entertainment industry guru, Oprah Winfrey, has estimated Nollywood is worth over $2.5 billion. In terms of number of films produced in a year, Nigeria leads both Bollywood and Hollywood. What has heretofore set Nollywood apart or by some estimates held it back, is its reliance on digital film technology as opposed to the widely recognised film industry standard 35mm."
Anyaene continued: "The 2007 release of the highly acclaimed and successful 35mm film, Amazing Grace for example, was thus a meaningful turning point for Nigerian filmmaking. Note, not until Ije took up the challenge, there was no other film since or before Amazing Grace that raised the bar." The filmmaker laments. "Nollywood is in many ways constrained by an incentive and funding structure. Good talent definitively exists and great talent is very well-known, but without corporate backers and sponsorships, filmmakers are often at a loss to move their picture forward in the film world.
Thus with new found partners and sponsors, we can continue to bring exposure to the beauty of Nigerian filmmaking and further build what has the promise in being a very vibrant sector of the Nigerian and African economy... Ije is the film that can break down barriers between Nollywood and the larger international film industry and allow Nigeria to become a truly viable force in global cinema. With top notch production values, Hollywood collaboration and the use of 35 mm film, Ije is already poised on setting the world on fire while spotlighting Nigerian artistry and talent. With film festivals and red carpet premieres, Ije can achieve great things, but not without the generous backing of a corporate sponsor," she submitted even as she called on corporate bodies to take advantage of the opportunities Ije has to offer their brand.
The international stars that featured in Ije would be arriving a couple of days to the July 31 premiere date and they will have the opportunity alongside Omotola and Genevieve, to meet the local media on July 30 before they walk Red Carpet the next day. The movie enjoys a media support from HiTV Pay Television.
Ije is a melodic and beautiful score through rich visuals in Los Angeles and flashbacks on location in Jos, Nigeria. The movie captures the viewer from the very first scene and delivers a powerful heartfelt message throughout the entire film, leading to a seductively twisted and mind-bending, yet moving conclusion. Cultural values and morals clash with the evil, seductive and elusive dark side of power, money and life in Los Angeles bring.
Ije, the journey, tells the story of two loyal sisters with unbreakable bonds and the power of the human spirit. When Anya (Omotola), the eldest of the two, vows to chase her dreams of glamour, fame and wealth in the Hollywood Hills, her younger sister, Chioma (Genevieve) warns her of the dark side of the American dream.
Against the will of her father, Anya follows her dreams and leaves Nigeria to find fame, glamour and riches. Years later and in a world far away from the life she knew, Anya is charged with the murder of the three men including her persuasive, power hungry husband. Chioma travels to her sister's side and soon discovers a flawed justice system... as the trial unfolds, the truth is slowly unravelled, the cultural values of two worlds and personal morals come to an explosive collision.