New Flick, ’76’, Breaks Barriers… Flagged In 2 International Film Festivals!
The multi-million dollar Nigerian movie, enigmatically named “76”, which has been scheduled to make a global opening at the 41st Toronto International Film Festival later this September, has also been exclusively selected to have its European premiere at the prestigious BFI London Film Festival. Arguably, it is touted as the first Nollywood film to be concurrently selected by both Toronto and London film festivals, thus etching a new milestone in African cinema.
The film, a love story wrapped in treason, intrigue, patriotism and faith is set in Ibadan, Nigeria, against the backdrop of transition and struggle for political stability in the 70’s – and it is inspired by real life events that led to the assassination of Nigeria’s charismatic Head of State, Murtala Muhammed in 1976. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with over 170 million people and is home to Nollywood, the 3rd largest film industry in the world.
The film, cast and crew have received a major boost with a high profile endorsement from the man who succeeded Muhammed, and much later became a tw- term civilian President, General Olusegun Obasanjo. He described “’76” as “the best view of one of the worst times in our nations history. A must watch and an insight that was long overdue. Watching the attention to detail and hearing my own voice in February 1976, brought out both sweet and sour memories as Murtala Muhammed was not only my boss, he was my friend. I can not attest to what went on in the homes as we were focused on the field, but this film gives even I, an insight into that.”
Set during the era of military and political unrest in Nigeria, the movie also had the endorsement of the Nigerian Army and the Murtala Muhammed family. It was shot inside the confines of a military base, which is touted as another first in Nigeria’s cinematic history. It comes 40 years after the actual events, and follows four years of groundwork by the multi-award winning Director, Izu Ojukwu and the production teams of Adonis Production and Princewill’s Trust (brainchild of Prince Tonye Princewill and Adonijah Owiriwa, who are the executive producers). We understand that
Africa Magic, a Multichoice subsidiary, has also signed on as partners.
In Adonijah Owiriwa’s word: “Our objective was to show audiences, amongst other things, what the wives of officers had to go through. Military coups were our legacy. In some ways, we are still trying to recover from this. Everyone sees and hears the perspectives of the officers. But the woman’s story stays silent. We wanted to highlight the strength and the vulnerabilities of the typical African woman through the eyes of officers’ wives. This is a filmmaker’s small contribution to raising their volume”.
“’76” stars some renowned Nollywood top-guns and brilliant newcomers: Ramsey Nouah, Rita Dominic, Chidi Mokeme, Ibinabo Fiberesinma, Memry Savanhu, Daniel K. Daniel, Debo Oguns, Adams Shuaibu and a host of others.
The film will have its London premiere on October 15, featuring all the key cast, crew and special guests. Then it will be the tirn of Lagos for African premiere on November 11 – before the nationwide release in cinemas from November 25.