The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) — which screens more than 300 films from over 60 countries, and draws in an estimated 400,000 attendees annually — is widely regarded as the most influential film festival in the world.
Two years ago, Nollywood took the festival by storm when eight movies by Nigerian filmmakers, including The Wedding Party and 93 Days premiered there. Now, for this year’s festival, Genevieve Nnaji and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje’s directorial debuts have been chosen for a similar honour.
Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart and British-Nigerian actor, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Farming are part of the 46 films from 37 different countries selected for the festival’s ‘Discovery’ lineup — a segment which highlights up-and-coming directors to watch.
Nnaji’s directorial debut, Lionheart will follow the competent but perennially overlooked Adaeze (played by Nnaji), who, in order to save her father’s (Pete Edochie) ailing bus company, must find a way to work alongside her feckless uncle, Godswill (Nkem Owoh).
As for Akinuoye-Agbaje’s Farming, which also happens to star Nnaji, the actor draws on his own life to tell the story of Enitan (Damson Idris), a young Nigerian boy who is sent to the UK by his parents in the hopes of having a better life, but instead becomes the leader of a white skinhead gang.
The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival will run from September 6 to 16.