LAGOS, NIGERIA (October 20, 2015);As FIFTY, the new and exciting feature film from EbonyLife Films continues to coast home to reverberating international acclaim, glory and recognition, renowned global media giants have not stopped adding their voices to support the film, whose cast and crew were hostedby the British Council to a pre-Premiere cocktail at Stephen St. Kitchen, London, as part the build-up to its spell-binding World Screening which held last Saturdayin London.
BBC 1’s Controller, Charlotte Moore, was at the London premiere and said, “Thank you so much for inviting me to the FIFTY premiere. I really enjoyed it and it was great to watch it with such an enthusiastic audience. It was funny, full of melodrama and disarmingly touching and courageous at the same time – a side of Lagos you don’t often get to see and a really original film. I loved the cast and characters and it was so refreshing to see a film that gave a voice to the ‘fifty-something’ women of Nigeria. I’m sure it will be a massive hit.”
Also, speaking with Mo Abudu on Huw Edward’s flagship news and current affairs programme, ‘BBC News at FIVE’, based in their central London studios, Simon McCoy spotlighted FIFTY with glowing tributes even as the Executive Producer, Mo Abudu, explained how the movie, which tells the compelling story of four glamorous, middle class women dealing with the same challenges that women all over the world deal with, is quintessentially a celebration of the African woman of today in a global marketplace.
CNN also captures this all-important essence tersely, but poignantly when it stated that FIFTY portrays “African women like never before”, almost in corroboration of Amanda Neville, Chief Executive Officer of BFI London’s opening remarks declaring the 2015 festival theme as “The Year of the Strong Woman”. It turns out there can be no better fitting theme for FIFTY, a riveting and dramatic exploration of love and lust, power and rivalry, with seduction and infidelity, set in Lagos, Nigeria.
Yet, CNN and BBC are not alone in the effervescent review of the intriguing movie which premiered on Saturday the 17th of October, 2015, at the BFI London Film Festival. Viva Naija and The Capital, two of the many eminent platforms thatfollowed the spectacular event from the colourfulperformance of the famous UK-based Talking Drummers opener to the red carpet, to the actual sold-out screening at Leicester Square, could not hold back their exciting reviews.
For Viva Naija“The plot starts at a somewhat leisurely pace – giving the audience a minute to assimilate and understand the characters (or at least think they understand the characters). However in the space of 100 minutes, we find that all is not as it seems: an overly prayerful wife is in fact dealing with a possibly-fatal illness; a devil-may-care cougar is covering up pain from a previous marriage, a repeat philanderer is truly searching for love (and may well have found it), a ball-breaking boss in a male-dominated world finds herself pregnant and it might be the best thing that ever happened to her, and an obnoxious diva is covering a deep, dark family secret.”
Viva Naija reserved unfettered praise for the principal players: “The director, BiyiBandele; the executive producer, Mo Abudu; and The Four Titans: Ireti Doyle, OmoniOboli, DakoreEgbuson-Akande and NseIkpeEtim must be applauded for their valiant efforts in bringing a whole new level of cinematic excellence to Nollywood.It may not be Titanic or Lord of the Rings, but I didn’t see a single native doctor, and nobody ran mad. The BFI chose well.”
The Capital, with the caption, “Mo Abudu’s FIFTY gets thunderous ovation: Movie wows audiences at the London Festival, to hit local cinemas on December 18”, writes, “The archetypal filmmaker seeks to awaken consciousness to a hidden layer amid the folds of reality in order to depict it or recapture its fast-fading resonance. This is what Mo Abudu, EbonyLife TV boss, seeks to achieve by bankrolling FIFTY, a movie. FIFTY explores the fascinating lives of four female characters with salty humour and valour. Starring Iretiola Doyle, DakoreEgbuson-Akande, OmoniOboli and NseIkpe-Etim, the brand new movie from EbonyLife Films captures the lives of the women at the pinnacle of their careers.”
It continues, “Although FIFTY aspires to be more than a slick soap opera, underneath its feistiness it glistens with romantic fancies. Contributing to the heady atmosphere is a luscious soundtrack of folk ballads rendered by King Sunny Ade, Femi Kuti, Tiwa Savage and Waje, who all make cameo appearance. Although the songs slip unobtrusively in and out of the background, they function subliminally as romantic chorale that lends the movie depth and a crimson romantic flush. That radiance complements the story’s phoenix locale, a posh suburban delight of rosy sunsets, large pristine homes, offices among other sceneries.”
The above well-deserved encomiums and more that have continued to pour in after the London premiere of the movie certainly crowd out a narrow-minded view which recently surfaced online suggesting that the film’s plot, structure and authenticity may be in doubt. In the face of theswelling global acceptance of FIFTY, such parochial suggestions must be consigned to an insignificant footnote in the success story of this amazing film, one which has made Africa proud asthe only film selected from Nigeria, and one of only five films from the entire continent of Africa from 238 films selected globally for screening at the 2015 BFI London Film Festival.
While set to enjoy a worldwide distribution via Netflix to 65 million homes globally, FIFTY will treat audiences to a special Grand World Premiere in Nigeria on the 13th of December 2015at The Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos. The film will them be released in cinemas nationwide on the 18th of December, 2015, via a distribution partnership with FilmOne, an independent distributor of filmed entertainment, providing top-end film release services with emphasis on the Nigerian territory.