The Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) have lauded the nomination of Genevieve Nnaji’s movie “Lion Heart” for the 2020 Oscars in the category of Best International Film.
Leaders of the two Nollywood bodies expressed delight over the feat in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC) had on Wednesday picked ‘Lion Heart’ as the country’s entry to the International Feature Film category of the 2020 Oscars.
The committee announced the selection following a statutory vetting and subsequent voting of entries received from Nigerian filmmakers at home and in the diaspora.
Prince Alvin Ahmed, Chairman of FCT Chapter of AGN, told NAN that the nomination of the acclaimed film for Oscars was an indication that Nollywood films were doing well on the global stage.
“This is good news for our industry and it shows that our films are gaining more acceptance around the world.
“The Oscars is an award every filmmaker and actor looks forward to, and we are proud that the work of one of our own has been recognised for such a prestigious event.
“It is an indication that hard work pays, so I urge filmmakers to put in their best, always come up with a good product with a global appeal,” he said.
Also, Mr Emmanuel Eyaba, Chairman of DGN, FCT Chapter, said: “The nomination of ‘Lion Heart’ is an indication that our stories are attracting world attention.
“Africa has good stories, which Nollywood has been on the lead of telling, and this is being recognised by film stakeholders across the world.
“Even the popular blockbuster, Black Panther, is an African story told by Hollywood, and that means the world is interested in African stories.
“Our filmmakers should always look inward and tell our stories to the world, and not the other way round.
“I congratulate Genevieve and the Lion Heart for nomination for the 2020 Oscars,” he said.
NAN reports that Lion Heart, a directorial debut of Genevieve, was released worldwide on Jan. 4, 2019, after a December 2018 theatrical release in Nigeria.
It was premiered at major international film festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and Marrakech International Festival.
The blockbuster movie has reportedly made Nnaji the first Nollywood billionaire, as Netflix, American subscription-based streaming service provider, reportedly bought the film for 3.8 million dollars.
The movie plot tells the story of a young woman, Adaeze Obiagu (Genevieve Nnaji), who became saddled with the responsibility of running her sick father’s business.
Adaeze’s outstanding business ingenuity and hard work, and her family obligations become a catalyst for drastic change for the once failing business.
Lion Heart was shot in Enugu, and features an awesome array of top Nollywood stars, including veterans like Pete Edochie, Kanayo O Kanayo, Onyeka Onwenu and Nkem Owoh.
Others include Steve Eboh, Kalu Ikeagwu and Jemina Osunde, among others.