Eyimofe: A Film to Watch – OpEd by Dr. Reuben Abati


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I was at the Ebony Life Place on Adetokunbo
Ademola, Victoria island, Lagos on Sunday, April 18, to attend the Nigerian
premiere of the award-winning film, Eyimofe (This Is My Desire): My first visit
to that events centre in a well-appointed neighbourhood in Victoria Island,
established by the television mogul and cultural entrepreneur, Mo Abudu, and my
first major trip to a cinema in more than a year. COVID-19 has turned us all
into recluses. With everyone masked up, you have to imagine the identity of the
person before you, by over-relying on voice or mannerisms. The screening of
Eyimofe provided an opportunity to reconnect with others.

I had heard about the film, produced by GDN
Studios, a movie and documentary arm of The Guardian newspapers, midwifed by
Toke Alex-Ibru and Mrs Maiden Ibru – an attempt to broaden the scope of The
Guardian, and fully explore the manifold possibilities of media expression in
an age of convergence. The film has won many awards including – the Golden Gate
Award New Directors Prize at the San Francisco Film Festival (SFFILM), the New
Directors Competition Grand Jury Award at the Seattle International Film
Festival; Winner, ‘Best Fiction, New Filmmakers’ at the Sao Paulo International
Film Festival; winner, Achilles Valdosta Award at the Torino Film Festival. For
a film that made its world premiere last year at the Berlin International Film
Festival in 2020, Eyimofe has had an impressive run. It has also featured in
film festivals in Germany, the UK, Spain, Brazil, Austria, Scotland, the UAE,
Canada, USA, Greece, Egypt and China. It finally made it home last Sunday. Home
is Nigeria, the cultural and social landscape that feeds the narrative, as well
its photography, scenery and cinematic progression. Is it not worrisome that
films produced by Nigerians, telling our stories, have to make international
rounds first before they finally make it back to their roots, the same country
that has given the world Nollywood, but which nevertheless, lacks strong
incentives and enabling environment for creativity? Nigeria’s achievement in
the creative industry is driven more by the passion, creativity, enterprise and
incandescent talent of a few who enjoy what they do within the industry and
relish the meaning that they find. Eyimofe proves the point. It is a tribute to
creativity, talent, and entrepreneurship: the deft blending in this respect
accounts for its success.



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