‘Nollywood in Hollywood’ presentation event holds in Lagos

L-R Steve Gukas, Dakore Akande, Ose Oyamendan and Kunle Afolayan at the 2018 edition of Nollywood in Hollywood held at The Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre Complex in Los Angeles
L-R Steve Gukas, Dakore Akande, Ose Oyamendan and Kunle Afolayan at the 2018 edition of Nollywood in Hollywood held at The Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre Complex in Los Angeles

Ose Oyamendan, a Nigerian-American filmmaker, alongside other stakeholders held the presentation event of ‘Nollywood in Hollywood’ on Tuesday evening in Lagos.

The event, which held at Pop Central, Lekki, was designed for select industry guests, partners, and sponsors of ‘Nollywood in Hollywood’.

PREMIUM TIMES is a media partner for the event.

‘Nollywood in Hollywood,’ an annual event that creates a platform for Nigerian films to be shown to Hollywood, began in 2017 and two editions of the showcase have held in Los Angeles, U.S.

Highlights include seminars, training programmes and networking events.

The inaugural edition was held on March 2018.

While speaking at the presentation, Mr Oyamendan, the brain behind ‘Nollywood in Hollywood’, said the goal of the event is to open up a new market for Nollywood and showcase the talents from the Nigerian market.

“The motive was to have Nigerian films showcase to the Hollywood audience and not just ‘African films.’’

Mr Oyamendansaid he intends to host an industry roundtable in the near future.

“The previous two editions have successfully pushed and popularised Nollywood movies to the foreign audience, including the international media,” he explained.

“This is in the works because we feel that it would help the initiative grow behind a film screening showcase.

“It is also a great way to project the Nigerian culture, project unique stories, build the industry and expose it to Hollywood.”

He said ‘Nollywood in Hollywood’ has the support of the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California and the American Cinematheque, operators of the historic Egyptian Theatre.

Popular Nollywood filmmaker, Steve Gukas, who was present at the gathering, noted that his movie ’93 days’, and two others, ‘Isoken and ‘ The Bridge’ were Guinea pigs for ‘Nollywood in Hollywood’ initiative.

Mr Gukas’ blockbuster, ’93 days’ was screened at the inaugural event to packed houses.

The film, which is a compelling drama of sacrifice, resilience, and survival, is based on a true story of the people who risked their lives to prevent a catastrophic Ebola virus outbreak in Nigeria.

“It was an elating experience. It was the first organised screening of a set of Nigerian movies in Hollywood,” he recalled.

He said the audience was a mixture of the Nigerian and International audience.

“The potentials are huge, it could grow into a mixture of festival and market where it becomes more structured in terms of who is invited and what presentations are made.”

“So, it becomes an actual meeting point for Nollywood and Hollywood where conversations, expertise and opportunity are shared, “Mr Gukas said.

Nollywood star, Dakore Akande, and director, Tope Oshin, were also in attendance. They commended the organisers for pioneering the incursion of Nollywood to Hollywood.

During her remarks, Dakore said it was an honour to take Nigerian films to the international audience.

She said they ( Nollywood stakeholders) hope to see more support from the Nigerian audience as it would help the industry grow significantly.

Tope Oshin, whose film ‘Up North’ was screened at the second edition which was held at the Eileen Norris Cinema Theatre at the University of Southern California, U.S, said it was a great experience for her.

“One of the most interesting thing for me was that a lot of people I spoke to were experiencing films from Nigeria for the first time.”

“There were loads of them that didn’t know where to find Nigerian films and some of them with preconceived notions of what our films were like.”

Mrs Oshin said the showcase brought about a kind of melting point that the Nollywood wanted.

She also expressed delight about the initiative because it includes seminars, workshops, training and closer interaction with the Hollywood industry.

The third edition will hold in 2020 and the organisers are soliciting partners to help push the Nollywood agenda further.

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