ARTS, CULTURE & LIFESTYLE

Nigerian film opens doors to UK cinemas after COVID-19 lockdown

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By TOSIN ADAMS

History is gradually being made in the UK cinema industry by a Nigerian film, BADAMASI: Portrait of a General, the biopic of former President Ibrahim Babangida, as it will be the first film for cinema screening in the country after the lockdown prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the film stages its exclusive world premiere on June 12, 2021 at Cineworld, O2 Arena, London, UK. 

Presenting, once again, the technical depth of Obi Emelonye, the filmmaker behind such blockbusters as ‘Last Flight to Abuja’, ‘Mirror Boy’ and ‘Oxford Gardens’, who has been described by the international media as ‘a Nigerian filmmaker telling quintessential African stories with a universal soul’, BADAMASI: Portrait of a General, with the cinematographic prowess of award-winning Director of Photography, Abiola Oke, has become the most-anticipated film in Nollywood in recent times, owing to its subject, General Babangida, former military President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and unarguably one of the most controversial personalities in Nigeria’s socio-political history since Independence.

With a stellar cast led by Enyinna Nwigwe, reprising the eponymous role, the film boasts of Nollywood greats like Yakubu Mohammed, Julius Agwu, Charles Inojie, Kalu Ikeagwu, Okey Bakassi, Anthony Monjaro and Ali Nuhu amongst others. The intense military dramatic action is set mainly in 1980s/1990s Nigeria and brings to the fore some of the most remarkable events that have shaped Nigeria’s political and historical landscape, as seen through the eyes of some principal characters who overtly participated in these epochal events.

Speaking about the premiere, Obi Emelonye says: “As a creative entrepreneur, I have believed in driving my own agenda and being in charge of my own destiny. This premiere emerged from that ‘yes, we can’ mind-set. And just like I did with ‘The Mirror Boy’ and ‘Last Flight to Abuja’, I believe that if we put up the right event, in the right venue and promote it right, people would come. The World Premiere of BADAMASI is happening in the UK- at the classy Cineworld at the iconic London O2 Arena. It is an exclusive event for invited special guests. However, we have a very limited number of tickets (we call ‘Coup-ons’) available for interested members of the public and our supporters to purchase from the ticketing site www.eventbrite.co.uk (search ‘Badamasi World Premiere’). Then they can come and be part of the first red carpet event of the post-COVID-19 era in the UK.”