History was made at Tuesday night’s Sundance Film Festival Awards ceremony. ‘Lizard’, Nigeria’s only Sundance 2021 submission, became the first Nigerian production in the festival’s history to win the Grand Jury Prize in the short film category.
Produced by Akinola Davies Jr., the movie tells the story of a 9-year-old girl who gets thrown out of Sunday school for her unusual abilities.
The film, which was set in Lagos in the 90s, star child actor, Pamilerin Ayodedeji alongside Osayi Uzamere, Charles Etubiebi, and Rita Edward.
The organisers received entries from over 27 different countries before shortlisting 50 movies in the short film category.
‘Lizard’ was one of the favourites having been tipped to win.
Other strong contenders in the short film category include, ‘Like the Ones I Used to Know’, ‘Lata’, ‘The Criminals’, ‘Bambirak’, ‘Dear Philadelphia’, ‘KKUM’, ‘Wiggle Room’ and ‘This Is The Way We Rise’.
Reacting to his win on Instagram, the filmmaker, who was included in the Berlinale Talents 2020, wrote,
“Literally a year to this day we started on a project conceived from a bunch of my childhood memories.
“Today I’m so grateful to @sundanceorg for awarding LIZARD the Grand Jury prize for shorts. I’m overwhelmed and as much as I’d love to gloat, filmmaking is really crazy hard.
“Big love to all those who were part of the shorts program – it’s an honour to be amongst such brilliant films.”
The biggest winner of the night was a coming of age drama ‘CODA’, which earned four awards, including the Grand Jury Prize.
The annually held Sundance Film Festival is the largest independent film festival in the United States.
It includes competitive categories such as documentary and dramatic films, both feature-length and short films, in which awards are given, as well as out-of-competition categories for showcasing new films.
The first lineup of competition films was announced on December 15, 2020.
‘Lizard’ was co-written by the Davies brothers- (Akinola Davies and Wale Davies).
Interestingly, the latter is one of the members of the rap duo, Show Dem Camp. He also doubled as co-producer alongside Rachel Dargavel.
The Sundance Film Festival, which began on January 29, ends on Wednesday.
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