Royal Hibiscus Hotel, a new romantic comedy from Ebony Life Films, will be screened for the first time at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.
It is the only Nigerian movie and one of just three African features in the Contemporary World Cinema category, which spotlights 48 of the best new films worldwide.
Set in Lagos and London, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel tells the story of a passionate Nigerian chef, ‘Ope,’ trying to follow her dream of opening a restaurant in London.
Frustrated by her lack of progress, she returns to Nigeria and discovers that going home can have unexpected rewards.
The film is director Ishaya Bako’s second feature, following his debut, The Road to Yesterday.
The cast includes Zainab Balogun, Kenneth Okolie, Deyemi Okanlawon and O.C. Ukeje, with veteran actors Rachel Oniga, Jide Kosoko, Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva, many of whom are expected to join the director in Toronto for the screening.
Speaking about the film, the Executive Producer, Mo Abudu said, “The Royal Hibiscus Hotel has been a passion project for me – the chance to tell an intimate story that has heart and soul, and explores romantic love in the older and younger generations. The film addresses some of the challenges around communication in relationships, while managing to be funny, warm and entertaining. Many of us have forgotten what it feels like to fall in love – I hope The Royal Hibiscus Hotel re-ignites this feeling in us all,” she said.
She also adds, “The TIFF premiere of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is good news for filmmakers in Nigeria and the continent – and provides further confirmation that positive African stories are attaining global recognition, which is indicative of improved scripting and higher production values.’’
The 2017 edition of The Toronto International Film Festival will take place from September 7-17 while the Royal Hibiscus Hotel is scheduled for release in February 2018.