Friday, August 26, 2016
The “76” Nigerian Film to Be Featured at TIFF 2016 This September in Toronto, Canada
Hollywood A-list celebrities adorn the red carpet at TIFF in Toronto every year, and this year is no exception. This September, celebrities like Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Gerald Butler, Matt Damon, Dakota Fanning, James Franco, Jennifer Garner, Richard Gere, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Woody Harrelson, Anne Hathaway, Ethan Hawke, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Hudson, Holly Hunter, Scarlett Johansson, Nicole Kidman, Shia LaBeouf, John Malkovich, Matthew McConaughey, Cynthia Nixon, Lupita Nyong’o, Dev Patel, Christopher Plummer, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Charlize Theron, Justin Timberlake, Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Naomi Watts, Sigourney Weaver, Rachel Weisz, Reese Witherspoon, and many others are expected to attend TIFF 2016 – a truly starred gathering. Many of them are frequent or even annual TIFF attendees, and it’s a pleasure to have them back in Toronto for another film festival this year.
Last time I attended TIFF two years ago, and I had the lovely opportunity to watch an Argentinian drama film featured at the festival. The atmosphere at the festival is always so magical, and I am looking forward to this year’s edition.
“76” is the first all-Nigerian, made in Nigeria movie by award winning director Izu Ojukwu chosen to have its own world premiere at the prestigious 41st Toronto International Film Festival. “76” is inspired by true events. Six years after the civil war, a young officer from the middle belt gets entangled in a romantic relationship with a beautiful O-level student from the Southeastern part of Nigeria. Their budding romance is almost ruptured by endless military postings. Now heavily pregnant, her walls crumble when the news of her husband’s involvement in a botched coup attempt hits the headlines. “76” celebrates the quality of the true African woman by exploring the usually invisible pain of a soldier’s wife; it highlights the enduring Nigerian cultural values of courage, resilience, patience, loyalty, faith and family. It is visually pure, emotionally engaging and amorously therapeutic.
“76” received an endorsement by the Nigerian Head of State who succeeded the assassinated Murtala Muhammed at the time, His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, who later went on to become a two term President making him both a military and civilian leader of the largest black nation in the world. He described “76” as “The best view of one of the worst times in our nation’s history. The film is 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.”
Set during the era of military assassinations and political unrest in Nigeria, “76” also had the full approval and endorsement of the Nigerian Army and the Murtala Muhammed family, and was shot inside the confines of a military base, a first in Nigeria’s cinematic history. It comes 40 years after the actual events, and follows four years of work by the multi award winning director Izu Ojukwu and the production teams of Adonis Production and Princewill’s Trust.
“76” stars award winning actors Rita Dominic, Ramsey Nouah, Daniel K. Daniel, actor and reality-show host Chidi Mokeme, actor and President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria Ibinabo Fiberesinma, as well as well as other rising stars. The “76” movie will have its world premiere screening at TIFF on Sunday, September 11th, at the prestigious Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto with key cast in attendance.
The 41st Toronto International Film Festival shines its spotlight on City of Lagos, Nigeria, for the eighth edition of the City to City programme. “We wanted to show audiences who were not there, what it was like and the impact of the army on the people’s psyche. A lot of water has gone under the bridge over 40 years. This is a filmmaker’s small contribution to some of that healing. I am honored we were selected first by Toronto.” said Executive Producer Tonye Princewill.
TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world, through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and the innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including founding sponsor Bell, a telecommunications company; the Province of Ontario; the Government of Canada; the City of Toronto; the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels); The Daniels Corporation; and last but not least, Royal Bank of Canada, one of the major banks in Canada. For more information, please visit TIFF.net.
I would like to share with you a few pictures that I took at TIFF two years ago, when I attended the festival and saw one of the movies featured at the festival. I never got the opportunity to share those photos when I took them, so I think it’s a great opportunity to do it now. This is how King Street West in Toronto looks like during TIFF days every year in September, closed to traffic between Simcoe Street and Spadina Avenue, for the festival activities. It's just magical.
“76” movie poster – Courtesy of Sasha Stoltz Publicity;
TIFF 2014 scenery – Victoria West.