The organisers of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) have announced the opening film for the 12th edition of the festival scheduled to hold from November 5-11, 2023, in Lagos.
AFRIFF’s Founder and Festival Director, Chioma Ude, during the week announced the film ‘ORAH’ by Nigerian-Canadian filmmaker as its opening night movie.
Observers described the choice of the film, which had its world premiere at the recently held Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as a bold step towards driving home the theme for the 2023 edition – ‘Indigenous 2.0 Global’.
Written and directed by Lonzo Nzekwe, known for the critically acclaimed ‘Anchor Baby’ starring Omoni Oboli, ‘ORAH’ was produced by Nzekwe, Floyd Kane (Diggstown) and Amos Adetuyi (The Boathouse); and was shot in both Canada and Nigeria in late 2022.
Speaking in anticipation of the festival, Chioma Ude said: “Filmmaking is evolving rapidly in Africa, with Nigeria at the forefront of the renaissance, and this year’s edition is designed to continue to reiterate the opportunities for African films and storytelling to reflect ‘global’ perspectives for the sustained success of more local films globally. We intend to continue to empower our storytellers to explore ideologies and techniques that connect with a larger global audience. ‘ORAH’ is positioned as the open-night movie to drive this expectation.”
A character-driven crime thriller, the film showcases the story of a female taxi driver in Toronto embarking on a revenge tour to avenge the death of her son, who is brutally murdered by a high-profile Nigerian criminal in a drug trafficking operation. Starring Oyin Oladejo as Orah Madukaku (Star Trek: Discovery), additional cast members include Lucky Onyekachi Ejim (Kim’s Convenience) as Bami Hazar; Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama (Titans) as Lace; Oris Erhuero (We Were Once) as Agent Garuba; and O.C. Ukeje (Brotherhood) as Agent.
Developed over the course of 11 years, director and screenwriter, Lonzo Nzekwe, said the cast and crew set out to tell a story that would make a lasting impact on viewers.
“I set out to create a tragically gripping and gratifying crime thriller with a gritty look that gives the audience a visceral, authentic experience of the life of our hero and her journey to avenge the death of her son. I hope that ORAH’s themes of justice versus revenge, redemption, freedom, corruption and family separation will have a lasting impact on its viewers and inspire them in a positive way,” Nzekwe said.