Kunle Afolayan Markets Cape Verde

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Apart from its thematic premise, Kunle Afolayan’s new movie, Citation, will attempt to market Cape Verde to Nigerians and the rest of the world while also establishing film and cultural affinity between the two countries, writes Ferdinand Ekechukwu

Prolific Nigerian filmmaker, Kunle Afoloyan, is in the news again and this time for a good reason as usual as Citation, his “seventh” cinematic work is announced. Unlike the last time his marriage crisis, and subsequently breakup, made headlines. Afolayan didn’t find funny one of the stories  and had reacted loosely, calling this writer “silly” and the write-up in question, “shit”. This, he did, sneaking through the writer’s DM on Instagram to, in a way, express his displeasure at the write-up.  The writer who had written about the moviemaker and his laudable works in recent past reminded him of that fact. Afolayan couldn’t come up with a “Right of Reply” if the story was in anyway untrue. That was the last time.

So, this time around, Afolayan’s ‘Citation’ movie project, with the government of Cape Verde Islands as the main sponsors, is trending for every good reason and that’s plausible and the good news for the award winning moviemaker/actor who has produced and directed such cinematic classics like Irapada, The Figurine (Araromire), Phone Swap, October 1, CEO, Mokalik among others. Exploring a subject of social decadence in the educational sector, the new movie Citation is a university drama about a female postgraduate student who has to find a way of dealing with the awkward situation of sexual harassment from a lecturer.

Written by Afolayan’s long-standing screenwriter partner, Tunde Babalola, Citation tells the story of Moremi Oluwa, a fun-loving 21-year-old student on campus in Nigeria. Incensed at being ill-treated by a trendy university don, Lucien N’Dyare, she drags him before the University Senate.

The ensuing intrigues define Moremi’s words against that of the respected academic, in a male-dominated terrain. According to Afolayan, ‘The Citation,’ apart from its thematic premise, will attempt to market Cape Verde to Nigerians and the rest of the world while also establishing film and cultural affinity between the two countries.

The Cape Verde government is currently on a drive to project the Islands and Nollywood is the major pivot which it has employed for the mission. In a statement made available to the media months back, Cape Verde’s Culture and Creative Industries Minister, Abrãao Vicente, who led the government team that included the Director-General of Arts and Creative Industries, Adilson Lima Gomes and the Coordinator of Cultural Goods and Music, Luhena Correia, in negotiating the deal, was quoted as saying that she believes that the collaboration will enhance a good relationship between Cape Verde and Nigeria.

In this light, Nollywood moviemakers tapped for the huge budget venture includes Wale Ojo, Chioma Ude and Kunle Afolayan among a few other top names in the industry. During a world press conference on Thursday January 9, 2020, Afolayan said his company was set – after pre-production which started in October 2018 – for five weeks of shoot, beginning January 10, 2020, through February 15, 2020, in three countries including Nigeria and Senegal. According to the award-winning filmmaker, his company is also partnering Ford Foundation on the project which has been designed to propel women to aspire to become successful leaders by providing counterexamples to negative gender stereotypes.

The cast of the movie include French-Ivorian actor and screenwriter, Raymond Reboul; Haitian-born Hollywood actor Jimmy Jean Louis; veteran broadcaster and actor, Sadiq Daba; veteran Nigerian film director and actor, Wole Olowomojuore, aka ‘Baba Gebu’; upcoming Nollywood actress, Bukunmi Oluwashina; and fashion and lifestyle blogger, Temi Otedola. Temi, the winsome fashion and arts-loving daughter of billionaire businessman, Femi Otedola, will be making her acting debut in the new movie, featuring alongside AMVCAs 2018 Best Actor and popular Ghanaian, Adjetey Anang. Temi, 23, is one of the lead characters in the movie.

Also starring in the star-studded movie is Gabriel Afolayan. This is the first time the talented younger Afolayan will star in any of his brother’s films. Gabriel plays Temi’s love interest in the upcoming film.