By: JIMI DAVID
Once acclaimed as the flagship of print media brands in Nigeria, The Guardian Newspapers is extending its brand offerings into film production.
The Guardian’s first Nollywood movie, Eyimofe (This is my desire) is set to premier on Sunday, April 18 at EbonyLife Place, Victoria Island, Lagos and would be in cinemas nationwide from Friday, April 23.
A production of GDN Studios, a subsidiary of The Guardian Group, Eyimofe had earlier been taken to festivals around the world.
A joint effort of Arie and Chuko Esiri, brothers and co-directors, Eyimofe their first featurefilmhas been praised by international audiences, festival directors, critics and the media. The movie takes an unflinching look at the pressures of everyday life in Nigeria, the desperate measures people take to survive, and the unrelenting desire to escape to a better life abroad. It also traces the parallel lives of Mofe, a stoic electrician and part-time security guard, and Rosa, a struggling hairdresser, both trying to navigate illegal ways of fleeing the country.
Eyimofe has represented Nigeria globally, having been selected for festivals in 20 countries to date. These include the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival 2020, where it had its world premiere, British Film Institute’s London Film Festival and American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival. It has garnered several festival awards including ‘Winner, Best Fiction, New Filmmakers’ at the São Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil), and ‘Winner, Achille Valdata Award’ at the Torino Film Festival, Italy.
According to executive producer, Toke Alex Ibru, the film has exceeded expectations. “We’ve been encouraged by the tremendous reception the film has received in London, Berlin, Sao Paolo (Brazil), Los Angeles and other cities. It’s really exciting to bring Eyimofe home to Nigeria and see how audiences react to seeing our lives portrayed onscreen in such a realistic way.”
To Arie and Chuko: “Eyimofe is very special to both of us, not just because it’s our first full-length feature but also due to the amazing support we have received from the cast, crew and a host of backers. We’re grateful to GDN Studios for allowing us to tell this touching story without compromising on production values and for helping to give the film the global exposure it has received. Audiences abroad have taken this movie to their hearts and we look forward to having Nigerians embrace it, even as they discuss some of the issues it raises about the human condition.”
Some leading international publications have sounded positive about Eyimofe. According to Variety (USA), the film is “a clear-eyed portrait of a vibrant informed by two talented native sons”. The British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound called it a “stunning feature debut” and Frieze (UK) suggested it’s “an outstanding story of interwoven tales”. And forThe Hollywood Reporter, it was “carefully observed and well-performed drama… a love-hate letter to a great and flawed city, from two talented young filmmakers”.