Category Archives: Film

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More film festival fun in Toronto with Nollywood stars

On Wed. Sept. 14, Nollywood filmmaker OMONI OBOLI had her first public screening for her film OKAFOR’S LAW at the Scotiabank Cinemas in downtown Toronto where she was joined onstage by co-star UFUOMA McDERMOTT for an audience Q&A afterwards. 20160914_224701Looking lovely in one of the gorgeous gowns supplied by Gail McInnes of Stylist Box, Omoni fielded numerous questions about her career and meeting the challenges of being a female director in a predominantly man’s world. 20160914_224645 20160914_224703 20160914_224649Ufuoma (above) sported a short sparkly cocktail dress that twinkled brightly on the stage.

Omoni then greeted fans outside the theatre, posing for selfies for nearly an hour!20160914_23063120160914_230858 20160914_23071920160914_231409And so did Ufuoma!20160914_230817Omoni was joined by TIFF/City to City Programming Associate Olena Decock, who also moderated the Q&A session, for a few photos, too.20160914_231857The fabulous Uche Jombo (below) then joined us …20160914_232443….and then once the moviegoers had left the theatre, we decided to have some fun and play!20160914_232726

Tomi Adeoye kicks up her heels

Tomi Adeoye kicks up her heels

20160914_232512The cinema’s cocktail lounge was closed and deserted so our little group took advantage of the cool lighting and views across the city of Toronto.20160914_233722 20160914_233600 20160914_233750 20160914_233900 20160914_234318 20160914_234735My one quick photo opp with Omoni….it’s been fun working with her and her cast during TIFF. This woman is a real pro and I was honoured to be a part of her film fest experience.
20160914_234813We found a lot of cool spots to take pics so every few feet it was a case of “strike a pose”!20160914_235441 20160914_235036 20160914_235323I love this pic of Ufuoma (below)….very moody, very “film noir”.20160914_235501We had waaaay too much fun but fortunately we were all able to sleep in a little in the morning after.  It’s been a blast working with these incredible women from Nigeria’s flourishing film community and I look forward to continuing the relationship once they head home. 20160914_235603 20160914_235606

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NOLLYWOOD FILMMAKER & STAR OMONI OBOLI ATTENDS CITY TO CITY PRESS CONFERENCE @ TIFF16

Yesterday, Nollywood’s finest converged on the TIFF Bell Lightbox – HQ for the annual Toronto Int’l film Festival – where a panel of filmmakers representing Nigeria’s sizzling movie industry spoke about their films being showcased at TIFF this year, as well as the challenges involved in attracting international audiences and distributors.20160913_115247Award-winning writer~director~producer and actor, Omoni Oboli, arrived for her official portrait and a digital interview prior to joining her panel colleagues. Here she’s greeted by event security – 2 of Toronto’s finest – and she couldn’t resists grabbing a quick selfie!20160913_114614She was then escorted into the studio & green room for her official portrait.. Below,I caught her coming out of the photo booth…can’t wait to see the gorgeous portrait on the TIFF website.20160913_115909She met up with the other panelists (below) before being led into the studio that was packed with international film journalists and news outlets!

Don Omope of FilmOne prods/Distribs.

Don Omope of FilmOne prods/Distribs.

Naz Onuzo of Inkblot Prods. & Niyi Akinmolayan of The Arbitration film

Naz Onuzo of Inkblot Prods. & Niyi Akinmolayan of The Arbitration film

Olumide Iyanda

Olumide Iyanda

Moderated by TIFF creative director Cameron Bailey, the panel introduced themselves and their films, then took questions from the media. I was able to grab a few screen-caps via the green room monitor, as did other publicists.

20160913_134449 20160913_135957 20160913_13502620160913_140546After the press conference, the filmmakers enjoyed an ad hoc networking session in the greenroom where they were greeted by Toronto’s favourite son of Nigeria Masai Ujiri – the President and General Manager of the Toronto Raptors basketball team.  Here Omoni spent some time with Mr. Ujiri sharing tweets and Instagram posts.20160913_142959 20160913_143008 20160913_143107We managed to grab a quick interview for Omoni with CBC Television (Canada’s national broadcaster)20160913_144839 20160913_144926Then more friends to greet and important contacts to be made!20160913_130430(0)20160913_12090420160913_144549Thank you to all the friendly and professional staff and volunteers who guided Omoni and myself thru the press conference process. TIFF is truly a world-class festival that treats its guests with such warmth and respect.

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TIFF RED CARPET FOR NOLLYWOOD FILMMAKER OMONI OBOLI’S “OKAFOR’S LAW”

Last night, Nollywood filmmaker and superstar OMONI OBOLI presented her dark romantic comedy OKAFOR’S LAW at the Toronto Int’l Film Festival with a stunning red carpet event full of talent, glamour and sparkle! The packed house was vocal in their approval and enjoyment of the film – you haven’t been to the movies until you’ve shared a theatre with Nigerian film fans…they responded loudly to all the onscreen action with laughter, applause and gasps. The Toronto crowd loved the film, adored their actors and weren’t afraid to show it. As soon as Omoni stepped out of her car (below), a cheer went up from the line-up of eager fans who had been waiting hours to see their idols.20160912_200658 20160912_195543These adorable young fans (above) were first in line when I arrived earlier at the Isabel Bader Theatre and they were thrilled to bits when Omoni came over to say hi and take selfies with them.20160912_200728Next to arrive was the stunning Ufuoma McDermott (above), looking extra sparkly in a long blue gown (scroll down to see how glam she looked on the red carpet). And then the big man himself arrived, Richard Mofe-Damijo or RMD as he’s known by his fans.20160912_204321 20160912_204234Above, Richard joins Omoni (right), along with another stunning Nollywood VIP guest on the red carpet. And below, Omoni walks the red carpet for her photo call with the world’s media, including several Toronto-based Nigerian and African media outlets.20160912_201007 20160912_201637 20160912_204406(0)Below, Ufuoma proves that this “baby got back” showing off her fantastic physique! We’re thinking she would be ideal to portray Serena Williams in her bio-pic….hopefully  someone is writing the script now!20160912_201359The red carpet got very crowded with Omoni’s cast & crew, and many of the Nollywood filmmakers and actors participating in TIFF’s “City to City” program showed up to support her film.20160912_20474420160912_201409 20160912_204536Prior to the screening, the always charming Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s Creative Director, introduced Omoni and her cast and crew to the stage (below)….20160912_210537

Photo courtesy of Mo Vernie

Photo courtesy of Mo Vernie

…then afterwards, everyone came out on stage to rousing applause and cheers, and for a fun Q&A with the audience (below)20160912_230707 20160912_231220Then outside for lots more interviews and photo opps with the fans!20160912_233511 20160912_233611Above, brilliant cinematographer Yinka Edwards was grabbed for a few words with TV news cameras – Yinka has 3 films participating in TIFF…wow! And he is such a humble man…I’m sure he was a little embarrassed by all the applause and media kudos. Bravo, Yinka, well done.

Omoni joined the throngs of fans outside for more selfies and socializing, meeting up with old friends and even a few relatives…20160912_234010 20160912_202259Here are a few more fun pics from last night, including Patricia Bebia Mawa of AfroGlobal TV/Silvertrust Media (below)…20160912_204753 …and Vivianne Collins who hosted the official Red Carpet TV for Okafor’s Law – here I caught her setting up before all the stars arrived. 20160912_200113Ufuoma hung out with writer/director Lonzo Nzekwe, sharing social media posts (below)…20160912_203104And of course…it’s all about the shoes, ladies, right?!  Check out this sparkly gold pair worn by Tomi Adeoye, production manager for the film.20160912_201100So you have just 2 more opportunities to check out this fun movie during TIFF: Wednesday night Sept.14 at 8:45pm & Sunday Sept.18 at noon, both at the Scotiabank Theatre in downtown Toronto. All details & ticket sales can be found at www.tiff.net

Follow Omoni and her cast via Facebook.com/OkaforsLaw

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NOLLYWOOD FILMMAKER OMONI OBOLI STARTS HER TIFF MEDIA ROUNDS WITH THE LOVELY FOLKS AT AFRO-GLOBAL TV & PLANET AFRICA

We had the perfect start today for Nollywood filmmaker and star OMONI OBOLI as she launched her media campaign for her film OKAFOR’S LAW, participating in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival: she enjoyed an hour long interview with Toronto-based AfroGlobal TV and Planet Africa magazine publishers.20160906_113744 20160906_120045Sitting down with show host, Patricia Bebia Mawa, Omoni (pictured below on her throne-like interview hot seat) talked at great length about being a female director and writer in what has mainly been a male domain. She also shared how she manages to maintain a fulfilling home life with her husband and children while building her career and expanding her professional horizons.20160906_120128 20160906_130347The crew and other AfroGlobal TV personalities joined Omoni for post-interview photos – as you can see she quite the hit in the studio!20160906_130536 20160906_130559 20160906_130613 20160906_130722Okafor’s Law has its world premiere red carpet next Monday (Sept.12) at 8:45pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto. Check the official festival website for screening dates and times, and to purchase tickets online. www.tiff.net/.  And to watch this episode of AfroGlobal TV tune into Rogers channel 708 if you’re in Toronto or follow Afroglobal Television on Facebook for the video link.Okafor's Law red poster flat

 

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ANOTHER GREAT “NOLLYWOOD” FILM FOR THIS YEAR’S TIFF-GOERS TO SEE

For this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (Sept. 8-18), the focus for their City-to-City program is Lagos, Nigeria – home to “Nollywood” filmmaking. One of the films being featured is 76 helmed by the multi award-winning director Izu Ojukwo, and starring Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Chidi Mokeme, Ibinabo Fiberesima, Memry Savanhu and Daniel Kanayo Daniel.IMG_3500 IMG_351076 is a love story that centers around the challenges women married to men in the armed forces go through when their husbands are captured in war. The 76 story is told using the backdrop of the Nigerian 1976 Dimka’s coup. The movie isn’t about a botched coup attempt but is clearly about the women who are courageous enough to bear a soldier’s last name. It is visually pure, emotionally engaging, intellectually stimulating and humorously therapeutic.

Six years after the Nigerian civil war, Dewa (Ramsey Nouah) a young officer from the middle belt gets entangled in a romantic relationship with Suzy (Rita Dominic) a young lady from the southeastern part of Nigeria. Their budding romance was almost ruptured by the overwhelming strains of tribalism. Now heavily pregnant, her world comes crumbling when news of her husband’s involvement in a botched coup attempt hits the headlines.IMG_3506 IMG_3505 IMG_3514You can check out the official preview trailer here:

Visit the official TIFF website for tickets, screening times and additional information on the City-to-City “Nollywood” programme

www.tiff.net/tiff/

 

 

 

 

 

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NOLLYWOOD’S BOX OFFICE QUEEN BRINGS “OKAFOR’S LAW” TO TIFF!

The reigning queen of the Nigerian film industry – known as “Nollywood” – OMONI OBOLI is bringing her latest film OKAFOR’S LAW to this year’s Toronto International Film Festival next month.  The multi award-winning director, writer, producer and actor will enjoy a world premiere red-carpet screening for her romantic comedy on Monday Sept. 12th at 8:45pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre located in Yorkville where TIFF was first founded. Omoni’s hoping this will be the start of N. American audiences and studios getting to know her and her work. Hollywood has been complaining loudly about the lack of opportunities for women directors, especially women of colour but Omoni has been making her own opportunities in Nigeria; her previous 6 films have raked in over a quarter billion Naira (Nigerian currency) at the box office. Omoni headshotOmoni began her career with her first movie role in ‘Bitter Encounter’ (1996) then in ‘Shame’. She then went on to play the lead female character in three major movies; ‘Not My Will’, ‘Destined To Die’ and ‘Another Campus Tale.’  She took time away from the biz to complete her university education and get married but after ten years, cinema called her back.

Since then, Omoni has shot to prominence as the class act of Nollywood because of her professional demeanour and strong work ethics. Playing lead roles in blockbusters like ‘The Figurine,’ ‘Anchor Baby’, ‘Being Mrs Elliott’, ‘Feathered Dreams’ and Mo Abudu’s ‘Fifty’ has set her apart as one who knows how to choose good screenplays. She has also set the bar higher by being the first actress from Nollywood to bag such international awards as Best Actress in two international festivals in the same year (2010) – the Harlem International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Movie Awards for her lead role in the movie, ‘Anchor Baby’. She’s pictured below with castmate, the late Sam Sarpong (L) and Anchor Baby director Lonzo Nzekwe (R) at the Toronto premiere.Omoni 5Omoni has won and also been nominated for several other awards, both locally and internationally. The movie, ‘Anchor Baby’ currently has the record for the longest running African movie in the UK cinema for the year 2011 and the longest running Nigerian movie in the UK cinemas in history. She wrote, directed, produced and starred in the movie, ‘Being Mrs Elliott’ which happened to be her directorial debut. ‘Being Mrs Elliott’ was chosen as the opening movie at the 2014 edition of the ‘Nollywood Week in Paris’, and it is the first Nigerian movie to be screened at the new Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, ASO Rock.  Her movie ‘The First Lady’ which recently screened at The Nollywood Week Festival in Paris won the highly coveted ‘Audience Choice Award’ which is the only award at the festival. Her recent Wives On Strike garnered great reviews from both fans and critics and was hailed as the comedy of the year.

Director’s Statement: The idea for Okafor’s Law came on a fine evening during dinner and drinks with friends. I happened to be the only woman in the group and the conversation was very ‘male’ in tone and subject. Somehow, we started talking about our exes and how most guys felt they could always go back and have sex with their old girlfriends even after a relationship had long ended. It was apparently a belief widely known in Nigeria as ‘Okafor’s Law’ It was a very interesting conversation and emotions ran high. At a point, one of my friends turned to me and said ‘Omoni you are a filmmaker. Why don’t you make a movie about Okafor’s Law’. I looked at him and said ‘why not?’ The idea was born! I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I talked back and forth with those friends, getting all their thoughts on the subject.  I initially contacted a writer because I was busy with other projects, and we talked about the story. Somehow, I never got a script from him so a couple of months later, I decided to write my story myself.
Apart from the main theme of ‘Okafor’s Law’, the movie takes us through a journey of love, passion, infidelity, violence and forgiveness. It’s also laced with humour which is a common thread in my movies. I love to take people into the world of my movies and make them forget for almost two hours, their own lives.  Omoni Oboli, 2016_MG_9971FILM SYNOPSIS:  Chuks (aka Terminator) is an ardent player with the ladies. He enjoys the attention of women, including girlfriends from the past. He believes that once a man has had a woman, he forever has access to her. When challenged by his friends to see if he can prove the universality of that theory with three ex-girlfriends from his school days within 21 days, he accepts it. Turning on his best charm he sets off to try and prove himself, but his quest brings him to three women, Ifeoma (Fifi), Kemi and Ejiro, whose situations in life have changed drastically since school days. This challenge of their various new statuses makes his quest to win the bet more and more insurmountable as he tries to prove the immutability of the age-old law, OKAFOR’S Law.

Okafor’s Law also stars African screen favourites Blossom Chukwujekwu, Ufuoma McDermott, Toyin Aimakhu, Ken Erics, Gabriel Afolayan and the “George Clooney of Nollywood” Richard Mofe-Damijo (below)image7You can find out more about Okafor’s Law from the official TIFF website where you can also purchase screening tickets www.tiff.net/tiff/   Look for the special City to City programme which features Lagos and the talented Nigerian filmmakers who call that city home. 79be306f-9fb4-4e48-b518-2fcd1a68337e

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INTRODUCING….THE QUEEN OF NOLLYWOOD, OMONI OBOLI!

Did you know that Nollywood (Nigeria’s bustling film industry) is second only to Bollywood (India) when it comes to film production?  And both are head and shoulders above Hollywood’s annual output of cinematic product – surprised?  When it comes to filmmaking here in Canada, we’re constantly bombarded with US films and television influences and we do tend to forget about the rest of the world and their creativity. But this year, TIFF is shining the spotlight on Nollywood with their “City to City” program, featuring filmmakers from Lagos.79be306f-9fb4-4e48-b518-2fcd1a68337eI had the pleasure of working with the talented and beautiful OMONI OBOLI (above) five years ago when I was publicizing Anchor Baby, the first feature film by Toronto-based Nigerian filmmaker Lonzo Nzekwe who cast Omoni in the lead role. She has seen emerged as a hit-making director, writer and producer as well as actor. In fact, Omoni is the #1 box office draw in Nigeria, grossing more than any other filmmakers over the past few years and I recently asked her about her career challenges, especially in light of Hollywood’s ongoing lack of female directors and roles for women of colour.red carpet OmoniWhen you first started acting in 1996, did you envision a career solely in front of the camera or did you have goals and ambitions that would put you in control of your own productions?
In 1996, I was an 18yr old undergraduate, who was somehow fortunate to be living out a childhood dream of being an actor and having people watch those movies across the country and beyond. I was too excited about being there that I don’t think I envisioned where I am today. My only focus then was to be in front of the camera and simply bask in the moment. My own production? That was so far from my mind then. The idea of being in control came later with experience, ambition, more interaction with others and a desire to give more of myself in light of some of the movie productions I had seen from others and felt I could do better. I love acting. It’s my first love, and the producing, writing and directing is the fulfilling of my inner desire to be featured in movies I love, which came after being in the industry for long.thumb__MG_8228_1024A lot is being made of Hollywood’s lack of diversity and few women in the director’s chair – how has your experience been working in the Nollywood film community? Have you been accepted as a female director/writer/producer?
I have to say that in Nollywood I don’t see an institutional or systematic stifling of female directors. At least to my knowledge, I haven’t felt that sense of a cartel holding back females from taking up this aspect of filmmaking. Rather, what I’ve seen is a limitation in the mindset of women to take the plunge. I have encouraged some of my female colleagues to take up directing, knowing their capabilities, and many have taken the challenge and are now directing their movies. The fact that we’re few may give this impression, but the men in the industry are not to blame, in my opinion. When the late Amaka Igwe started directing her soaps and movies in the early part of Nollywood history, we didn’t think she was being restricted, because the respect she got from everyone, male and female, was overwhelming and also encouraged, unless there was a battle raging behind the scenes which I didn’t know about. So, yes, I have been accepted as a female director. What I would say is that since my career started as an actor, and I’m still acting, when directors are called, it seems as if they’ve forgotten me as one of them. This is not to say that they don’t respect me, but I’ve seen more acceptance of other female directors who are not actresses than myself, even though my movies are making such big waves and breaking grounds with the audiences. I guess it would be due to the way I’m perceived by many (an actor) rather than an institutional segregation. The same goes with my acceptance as a writer. People love my movies for the refreshing storylines and unique dialogues, but I’m still perceived as an actor.

How do you direct yourself on camera? Are you self-critical or do you find it difficult to get perspective on what you see vs. what you present?
When I’m acting, I find that I’m also directing. Many times, when I’m in a dialogue with another actor, I’m constantly looking out for how they’re delivering their lines and how their body language is in line with what I wrote in the script. As a precaution, I always play back the scene to see how I delivered my own lines, and we don’t move on until it’s right. Yes, I’m very self critical of my acting, directing, writing and pretty much everything I do. I don’t want to have any delusions of grandeur, even if my movies are making waves. It keeps me focused on improving myself and my art. I also listen to criticism from my crew and cast so that I constantly get genuine feedback on the go. After all, it is a business, and the finished product must be top notch and sellable.thumb__MG_8913_1024As a film writer, what inspires your stories? Do you want to tackle “women’s issues” or are you open to all story genres and styles?
I love to laugh, and I want when people go to the cinemas to watch my movies to forget their problems and just relax. I’m open to all stories. My primary motive is always to entertain, because I believe it’s in that atmosphere that you can slot in any other thing you want to reach the audience with  I also try to make sure that there must be a positive message that would also give hope, educate, enlighten or inspire people who come primarily to get entertained. So far I’ve done comedies, but I believe that it all starts with a good storyline, and if another genre sparks my interest and sets the stage for good entertainment, then I’m open to all.

How do you see your career changing if you crack the tough and competitive U.S./Hollywood scene like Lupita Nyong’o did? Would you move to California or stay in Nigeria where you can continue to support the film industry there?
Oh, it would change a lot! I’m bound to the art, and not to the location. So if the art takes me anywhere, that’s where I would be. My support for the Nigerian film industry is a lifetime thing for me, and It’s not going anywhere, because I would always support it in every way. Just as producers are making waves across the globe, my living, acting or producing in California, London, Paris or any part of the world wouldn’t change the fact that it’s a nollywood girl doing it, and that brings attention to the Nigerian film industry. I’m so proud of what Lupita has done, and it serves as an inspiration for many of us. Her story has also helped bring attention to the continent of Africa, and by default, the move industry.Omoni in carAs a mother of 3 children, how difficult is it to balance work and family life?
It’s the grace of God. I’m so thankful for a supportive husband and a beautiful family. It’s not easy at all, but I try to make up when I’m around. Being away from them is so difficult that I bury myself in whatever project I’m doing till I get back home to my family. Like I always say, “I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do.”

Any advice for other women wanting to direct, write or produce their own films?
Don’t let yourself be limited by what you think others may perceive of you. Don’t think that opportunities will or should be given to you because of your gender. Let your work speak for you, and study twice as hard to give ‘the’ best, and not just ‘your’ best, because the men shouldn’t dumb themselves down just to make you feel good. The women who are in the game are also bringing their A-game, so educate yourself to be skilled in what you want to do. Writing for women can be restricted to the feminine perspective, so get a male angle from the males so that your stories are more relatable, even when it’s meant to be a chick flick. Producing and directing is hard work, so be ready for the work emotionally, and make sure your business side is always active. Surround yourself with competent and trustworthy hands so you don’t get overwhelmed with trying to do all the work. The audience does not care about your excuses or pains in getting the movie out there, they only care enough to pay for a finished work that has value.

Omoni 5Above, Omoni is pictured with director Nzekwe (R) and the late actor/musician Sam Sarpong (L) at the premiere of Anchor Baby (2011).

You can follow Omoni here: www.keek.com/omonioboli

Twitter: @omonioboli
Instagram: @omonioboli
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Canadian-Nigerian filmmaker LONZO NZEKWE shares indie success story & this year’s TIFF spotlight on his home country

I first met self-taught Canadian-Nigerian filmmaker LONZO NZEKWE about 5 years ago when he asked me to promote the debut screening of his first feature film, Anchor Baby, here in Toronto during the annual Toronto Int’l Film Festival. Although Anchor Baby was not part of the Festival, we arranged that the screening take place at a major cinema multiplex during the period when most int’l film media and industry folks were in town. The screening was a resounding success with a packed house (we actually turned people away), lots of media coverage and Lonzo was off and running with his feature film that was made mostly in and around Toronto on a shoestring budget.anchor-baby33865_165229630154037_4176194_nOver a dozen or so int’l film awards later…Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 8.15.51 AMScreen Shot 2016-06-22 at 9.31.53 PM….the writer/director has now brought his latest project, a 37min. crime thriller, Meet The Parents, to the screen and that, too, has started amassing critical kudos and awards including the Best Short Film award at the 2016 Africa Movie Academy Awards. Meet The Parents by Lonzo Nzekwe 12289712_10156318942150525_7545685570378629312_nI recently sat down with Lonzo and asked him to share some insights into his self-made career, and about the upcoming Toronto Int’l Film Festival where he will be supporting fellow filmmakers and stars of Nollywood, as the Nigerian film industry is called, who are coming into town as part of this year’s TIFF City to City: Lagos program.

Having only spent a short time studying filmmaking, can you share some of the most challenging obstacles you’ve experienced being a self-taught producer/director?
One of the major challenges is getting funding for new film projects. Up till now, all my film productions have been self-funded because it’s tough to get investors when you are an independent filmmaker. Another challenge is getting media exposure for the films after they’ve been shot, but thanks to social media and my IronFlix movie streaming platform, I’m now able to reach a global audience without breaking the bank.

Your first film was the feature length Anchor Baby (2010) which went on to win so many international awards after premiering here in Toronto. How did such immediate success impact your career and/or goals for your future?
Anchor Baby (pictured below) catapulted me to the front of the line after its success. The film played in Nigerian cinemas for about 12 weeks, the UK for 6 weeks, Ghana and Canada for about 2 weeks. As dark as the ending of that movie is, there’s something special about the film as a whole because it pulled no punches and it’s brutally honest. All the 13 film awards including Best Film at the Harlem International Film Festival and two nominations at the 2011 Africa Movie Academy Awards made people take notice. I guess at the time, they wanted to know what’s up with this self-taught first time filmmaker.38609_150496438294023_1449759_nYour most recent film was a short titled Meet The Parents which is garnering critical acclaim as well as moviegoer praise. It recently won Best Short Film Award at the 2016 Africa Movie Academy Awards – what sort of comments/responses have you received about this second film from the African and worldwide film community?
It’s interesting because after I made Anchor Baby,  a few people thought its success was a fluke. The truth is that Anchor Baby was easy for me to make and I knew at the time that I have the potential to write and direct other good movies. By the way, Meet The Parents is 37 minutes long and I consider it a mini-feature film because it actually feels like you’re watching a full feature length film. When you watch Meet the Parents, you can clearly see the growth on the writing and technical aspects of my filmmaking. I’ve received great reviews from film industry people here in Canada as well as Nigeria. Recently, a well respected industry insider in Toronto watched the film and wrote that he likes the film’s look, especially the real sophistication in the way I crafted the images and sound. I jokingly tell people that the film has a “38 Special” flow to it because a snub-nosed 38mm handgun played an important role in the major turning point of the film.

As a film writer, what inspires your stories? I gather Meet The Parents was inspired by a Jay Z song?
I get inspirations from my pains, worries, love, loss and life in general. Meet the Parents was originally inspired by a Jay Z song of the same title in his 2004 Blueprint 2 album. It’s about a father who abandoned his infant son for a life on the streets and 15 years later, fate brings father and son together again in deadly street fight that will alter their lives forever. I’m a huge Jay Z fan from his Reasonable Doubt days and his music in general has been a source of inspiration as a black filmmaker. He paints vivid pictures with words and every time I heard that song, I get these haunting cinematic images in my head that won’t go away. So I decided to put it into film in my own personal interpretation and also added other plausible twists and turns that made the film special.

You recently launched another exciting project, this time it’s a film, documentary & TV streaming platform called IronFlix that offers entertainment from Africa-based production companies.  What inspired this new business and how did you create IronFlix.com?
I believe that filmmakers should create their own path to success instead of waiting for someone to else to get you there. I started IronFlix because I kinda see the direction film consumption is heading. VOD streaming is not the future; it is now! I want to be able to reach my audience anywhere in the world without depending solely on cinemas and traditional television networks.

I originally came from Nigeria, a country that built their film industry (Nollywood) from scratch without help from the government. Most people like me (Nigerian filmmakers) don’t worry about things like “Oscar So White” because we try as much as possible to create our own opportunities and create a market for our work. No one can marginalize us and tell us the types of movies or stories to tell. We have our own film industry, film festivals, cinemas and the Africa academy awards that’s slowly being recognized around the world. One of my main goals is to collaborate with like-minded individuals working in Nollywood, Hollywood and other western film industries to help spread genuine African stories to a global audience.

What are the top films being viewed on IronFlix that we should all watch out for?
Some of the great films and Tv shows you can watch now on IronFlix include Anchor Baby, Ojuju, Making of A Mogul, Pamper Your Mum, Form 36 and many many more.

Your next film project is called Laundrymen – is that a short or feature film? Can you share any teasers or background info on this new production?
Laundrymen will be a feature film. I’ve been developing it for over three years now and it’s a revenge crime thriller. It will be my most ambitious project till date and I’m looking forward to starting production. I’m still raising funds to shoot it so if you know anyone interested in financing a great film, please contact me let’s make it happen.

What advice (or cautions) can you offer emerging indie filmmakers starting out along a similar career path as you did?
All I can say is just do it. Most people talk about what they are going to do when they have the right money, equipment, cast and crew etc. Truth is, you will never have everything right the way you want it. Also, make sure whatever film you’re making is saying something, and it’s something you can be proud of after all is said and done. Your time is way more valuable than money because you can’t replace the time you lost on a film that isn’t about anything.39839_150497681627232_4139089_n

You can follow Lonzo on his journey with Meet the Parents, as well as his activities during TIFF via social media:
https://www.facebook.com/MeetTheParentsMovie/
http://www.ironflix.com
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1666555/

And I’ll be posting updates throughout TIFF so subscribe to my blog or follow me on Facebook.com/FordhamPR or Twitter & Instgram: @FordhamPR

20160531_190700(0)

URBAN SOURCE CATERING DELIVERS ANOTHER DELICIOUS MENU FOR INSIDEOUT FILM FEST-GOERS

Hosted at the exciting new venue, Artscape/Sandbox on Adelaide St West in downtown Toronto, URBAN SOURCE CATERING tickled guests’ tastebuds Tuesday night with another round of delicious hors d’oeuvres during the InsideOut Film Festival Centrepoint Reception.  As sponsor for many of the Festival’s swanky soirees, Urban Source Catering has created several different menus and here are just a few of the platters enjoyed by the guests on this night.

Filet of Beef Tenderloin

Filet of Beef Tenderloin

Shrimp Ceviche Spoons

Shrimp Ceviche Spoons

Prosciutto Parmesan Palmiers

Prosciutto Parmesan Palmiers

Vietnamese Rice Wraps

Vietnamese Rice Wraps

The fabulous and talented DJ Cozmic Cat (below) entertained the crowd of film industry insiders, media and sponsors…. www.djcozmic.com20160531_184423

And the guests certainly weren’t shy when it came to corralling the cater waiters with their trays of treats…20160531_190935 20160531_185621 20160531_190847

Several Urban staff members were able to grab some time in front of the green-screen photo booth presented by www.PhotoBot.ca  What a hoot! Here’s how the magic works: Cybèle and Wayne stand in front of the green screen, strike a pose, then click!20160531_191233… and now taa-daa, they’re in front of Priscilla Queen of the Desert!20160531191236381-SChef Lyndon (below L) got into the act with two of his staff….20160531_191804 20160531191759638-SNeedless to say, I got a bit loopy and “walked like an Egyptian”, too!20160531185308974-SRepresentatives from several Festival sponsors were there, including Accenture20160531_190628And here Urban’s Wayne and Cybèle showing off their best “Vanna” skills at the event w sign…20160531_190550(0)

Congratulations to all at Inside Out Film Festival for hosting another successful gathering, and to the staff at Urban Source Catering who continue to impress with their innovative selections, superb service and great humour!

www.urbancatering.com

www.insideout.ca

20160527_190423(0)

URBAN SOURCE CATERING SCORES STANDING OVATION FROM TORONTO’s INSIDE OUT FILM FEST GOER’S

Another fabulous “pink” carpet event for Toronto’s annual INSIDE OUT FILM FESTIVAL this past Friday night, catered by those fabulous foodies at URBAN SOURCE CATERING [www.urbancatering.com] The delicious multitudes of hors d’oeuvres even starred in the local CBC TV newscast later that night!

Seafood Kokoda Spoons

Seafood Kokoda Spoons

Beef Tenderloin on Brioche

Beef Tenderloin on Brioche

Mediterranean Flatbread

Mediterranean Flatbread

Held at the Brainstorm Academy at King & Spadina, the guests enjoyed schmoozing with filmmakers & industry insiders, media and the Inside Out organizers who celebrated the Festival’s 26th year of showcasing films and supporting the LGBT community here and around the world. [ www.insideout.ca ].  Urban Catering has been a long-time sponsor of this prestigious event and has lots more Festival soirees to serve over the next week. 20160527_19114220160527_190149

Classic Crab Cakes

Classic Crab Cakes

20160527_190928Congratulations! to all at Inside Out, and to the Urban cater waiters and kitchen staff…..get a good night’s sleep and we’ll see you all back here tomorrow for another event.

Bacon & Sriracha Prawns

Bacon & Sriracha Prawns