On Fri 18th Oct, The Lighthouse in London was awash with glamour, fun, Nollywood stars and huge laughs as Okey Bakassi worked his on screen magic and showed once again why he is one of the biggest comic stars to come out of Nigeria.
In a world's first event for Nollywood, multi award winning director Obi Emelonye premiered his latest film Onye Ozi (The Messenger), live and online to universal acclaim and at the same time birthed what many are saying is a new Nollywood comedy classic.
But this was not the only sensational performance of the night, because as evidenced by the unending applause given to lead actress Ngozi Igwebike aka Gayle Thompson it is clear that the Producers have introduced a bright new star to the Nollywood heavens.
In what seemed like an effortless performance Ngozi Igwebike held her own against her highly experienced leading man and sent a signal to Nollywood that she has not only arrived, but is very much here to stay.
What this unique premiere also showed is that premiering a film online at the same time as the film is premiered live is good businesses. Working in partnership with Iroko TV, Ibaka TV and Afrinolly, the 3 leading Nollywood online/mobile film distributors, over 60 countries were able to take part in the online premiere with surprisingly Saudi Arabia proving to be the 2nd most popular country for the online premiere after the United Kingdom.
As Onye Ozi continues to rack up online sales since the premiere, many are saying this is the future for Nollywood and international world cinema.
Online reviews include:
‘The movie 'Onye Ozi' is not only entertaining but a celebration of African creativity at its best..’. editor CHUBS Magazine
'I didn't understand the language but I laughed to tears the movie Onye Ozi amazing!!! #onpoint..’. @K_Rusheal
'one of the scenes from the movie Onye Ozi is so memorable that I woke up acting it out...’ @Venthevc
The next live premiere of Onye Ozi will take place in Lagos in late November before being released in selected cinemas across Nigeria.
Subtitled in English, the psychological comedy thriller tells the story of an immigrant fresh into London with high expectations and a two-year plan to return to Nigeria a rich man, who gets caught up in an unexpected set of circumstances that changes his life forever. The film also stars British lawyer turned actor Stephen Moriaty and Da’Kachy Ob-Emelonye, the first born son of the director.
Obi Emelonye says: "As a proud Igbo man, I thank God for the success of this film in my native Igbo language and I am even more proud that an international audience has shown that the telling of contemporary African stories in native languages can find universal appeal. If Onye Ozi encourages more Igbo filmmakers to make more movies in the Igbo language then I will be a happy old man."
Onye Ozi is produced by emerging UK based film producer Emmanuella Ngozi Ideh alongside Obi Emelonye on behalf of The Nollywood Factory with the support of Nollywood Movies, M-Net Africa and Screen Nation Pictures.
The ONLINE RELEASE continues at http://muvi.es/w5005 priced $3 until the end of Oct, and more thereafter.