Actress Genevieve Nnaji’s says the success of her movie ”Lion Heart” is vindication for Nollywood

The acquisition of Genevieve Nnaji’s movie, ”Lion Heart” by Netflix is a sign that something good and positive can come out of Nollywood, according to the actress.

Genevieve Nnaji has stated that the recent acquisition of her directorial debut, ”Lion Heart” by American film sharing site, Netflix is a vindication for the local movie industry, Nollywood.

Speaking on BBC’s Newsday programme, the actress shared her excitement following the successful premiere of Lion heart at the recent TIFF festival and its purchase by Netflix, making it the first original film from Nigeria to be on the platform.

”To be honest, I was happy for the country,” she says, ”I was happy for the industry, I forgot about me because I really didn’t set out to do a movie about Genevieve, it wasn’t a selfish endeavor, I really wanted something good and positive to come out of the industry finally, that was fulfilling and vindicating at the same time.”

On the message she is trying to pass across in the movie, she explains

See Genevieve Nnaji at 'Lion Heart's premiere at TIFF 2018Genevieve at the premiere of her movie ‘Lion Heart’ at the 2018 TIFF festival in Toronto

”It is just an inspiring story about family values, succession, wanted to touch on women and the role they play in the society, especially in the work place, especially in an industry dominated by men and their challenges.

But most importantly, we wanted to put across the values that we actually share as Africans, and as Nollywood and everything that we embody as an industry in just one story and I think Lion Heart provided us with that environment.”

She says it was important to get the message across, ”Today, in the world that we live in, we seem to be losing our identity as Africans and as filmmakers and I just wanted to kind of go back and revamp and put forward what I know I have been able to learn in my 20 years of being in the industry as an actor.

Just things that I thought, with probably places that I felt we haven’t put our messages across, and so I just went with my gut feelings and tried to be as true and authentic to myself as possible.”

Genevieve also speaks on drawing on personal experience

”Yes, just being a woman trying to do business in Nigeria, especially even with ”Lion Heart”, we tried to partner with a few people, that didn’t work out, we pretty much just channeled all our frustrations into the film, it’s easier to draw inspiration from experience,” she concludes.

‘Lion Heart’ is her full debut as a film director, and it captures the story of a young lady who steps up to the challenge when her father is forced to take a step back from his company due to health issues.


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