Netflix recently secured its first movie from the West African country, Nigeria.
The American media services provider picked up the world rights to Lionheart, the directorial debut of Nollywodd actress and producer Genevieve Nnaji.
Lionheart had a world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival on Saturday 8th of September 2018.
The film set in Southeastern Nigeria, stars Nnaji, Nkem Owoh popularly known as ‘Osuofia’, Pete Edochie and Onyeka Onwenu, captures the challenges of a female in a male-dominated industry. Adaeze is a young woman who has to prove her worth as she steps up to run her family’s company when her father is sidelined by health issues, but her Uncle does not make it easy for her.
Lionheart, which has its first screening in Toronto on Saturday, is based on a screenplay by Chinny Onwugbenu, Nnaji, Ishaya Bako, Emil Garuba and C.J. Obasi.
The film, from T.E.N., was sold by MPM Premium to Netflix.
Netflix, Inc. is one of the largest providers of movie content on the Internet. It currently boasts over 117.6 million subscribers and partners with content providers to license streaming rights for a variety of TV shows and movies.
This is a significant milestone for Nollywood because as a Netflix branded movie, it stands a better chance to go global because of its heavy promotion.
Meanwhile, the producer Genevieve in an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest has explained that Nollywood has what it takes to go global with its country and West Africa but language has been a major barrier.
“I think the authenticity of the story which was what I loved about it, provided an environment where I could showcase the things that made me proud of our culture, our talent and our values”. She said
Genevieve also said that “For money, we had to self-fund unfortunately, we don’t have adequate funding for movies that we actually intend to go global, there isn’t that provision yet…”
Genevieve Signs Film Deal
The Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji, has signed a film deal with United Talent Agency (UTA).
The deal will see the ‘Lion heart’ actress collaborating with top Hollywood filmmakers to produce movies from African including Nigerian stories.
UTA, also represents Hollywood’s Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Channing Tatum, Nicholas Hoult, Ewan McGregor, Kim Soo Hyun and Liv Tyler.
Nnaji is one of the highest paid actresses in Nollywood. She has starred in a number of Nigerian features including Ijé: The Journey, Tango With Me, Doctor Bello, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Road to Yesterday, a film that marked her first outing as a producer.