A renowned actress in the Nigerian movie industry, Genevieve Nnaji, had her directorial debut ‘Lion Heart’ premiered for cinema viewings at a private screening in Lagos.
The star-studded premiere was attended by Nnaji’s parents, television host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Peter Okoye of P-Square, Betty Irabor and Phyno in spite of the controversy over its clarification status by the Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria, CEAN.
Posting pictures from the event on her Instagram page @genevievennaji, she wrote the caption, “Gather here for a selfie if you have been waiting for this day.”
Her team went on to release viewing times for the movie across the Silverbird and Genesis cinemas in Nigeria on the ‘Lion Heart’ official instagram page @lionheartthemovie.
NAN reports that in September, Netflix announced it had acquired the worldwide rights for ‘Lion Heart’ making it the platform’s first African original film.
This was followed by a world premiere at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival (TIFF) where it immediately gathered positive reviews internationally.
The record-breaking movie, set for Netflix premiere in January, 2019, captures the challenges of a female in a male-dominated industry.
It is a story of Adaeze, a young lady who steps up to the challenge when her father, Ernest Obiagu, was forced to take a step back from his company due to health issues.
She works with her crude and eccentric brother to save the family business in dire financial straits resulting in crazy and often hilarious results.
Patrick Lee, chairman of CEAN in a statement had clarified the association’s position on the movie.
He said that the Lion Heart team did not adhere to the processes involved in exhibiting a film in cinemas in the country that’s why most of its members “rightly refused to take the movie.”
He declared: “We expect the movie to come from a licenced distributor, we expect the movie to be given adequate run time in the cinemas before it is officially released on other platforms; And also for our cinemas to be provided with adequate notice for the inclusion of the movie in an increasingly crowded calendar.
“It is clear from the approach taken by the Lionheart team that these processes were not adhered to and most of our members rightly refused to take the movie.
“It is also important to note that this movie had been signed up by Netflix months ago, thereby giving Genevieve’s team ample time to secure a spot on the calendar.
“An option they did not take until quite recently thereby ensuring the possibility of the movie not being shown by cinemas during their preferred date.”