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General News of Saturday, 5 June 2021


Emelonye premieres ‘IBB’s Portrait’ in London

The photo used to illustrate the story The photo used to illustrate the story

Finally, most anticipated Nollywood movie, Badamsai (Portrait of a General) is set against all odds for an historic world premiere at the Cineworld cinema 02 Arena in London on June 12, 2021. UK-based filmmaker Obi Emelonye in a series of posts detailing the premiere date announced the screening. The film is his much-anticipated biopic of a former Nigerian head of state, Ibrahim Babaginda. The epic biopic will open UK cinemas as the first red carpet event post Covid-19 lockdown. Shot in 2018, in Lagos, Minna, Abuja and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka campus, where Emelonye graduated some 30 years ago, the IBB biopic takes a look into the life of Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.

It stars Enyinna Nwigwe as Ibrahim Babaginda alongside other great actors such as Charles Inojie, Sani Danja, Yakubu Mohammed, Okey Bakassi, Kalu Ikeagwu, Julius Agwu and Erick Didie. The film is set to detail the history of Badamasi’s rule as President of Nigeria for eight years between 1985 and 1993 as it reflects how his rule altered history. In a remark following his posts, Emelonye said “Watch General Ibrahim Babangida’s journey up the ladder of life from an orphan to President (plus everything in between) and back down by ‘stepping aside’.

“BADAMASI (Portrait of a General) premieres at the Cineworld cinema, O2 Arena, Greenwich London on Saturday June 12 2021. It has been confirmed that the cinema will only allow 50% capacity, putting more pressure on the already limited seats available.” Despite being ‘threatened’ not to release the film which also led to a forced postponement of its cinema release originally slated for November 29, 2019, it appears Emelonye has overcome whatever hurdles thrown at him.

Once speaking on lessons from making Nollywood classics, Emelonye noted that the timing of the release of a film could be one of the most important considerations in its journey to success: “I have not worried too much when circumstances beyond our control meant that the release of BADAMASI was cancelled last year. This is because I know that we have not just made a film about one of the most controversial and iconic Nigerian’s alive, we have made history. And someday soon, that film will see the light of day and whenever that is, it would be more than a film release. It will be a cultural, political and historical signpost of Nigerian state”.

The delayed cinema release of Badamasi was reportedly influenced by powerful figures who did not want the film. Mostly known for his remarkable cinematic works, including Last Flight to Abuja (2012), The Mirror Boy (2011), and Onye Ozi (2013), Emelonye’s recent films have had commercial successes, as well as critical acclaim.

Known for his deep, enthralling and refreshing storylines so are his techniques and focus. Emelonye’s making as a moviemaker is enchanting as the movies he has worked on over the years.

The biopic’s production has since been trailed by media attention and after the push back of its 2019 release, a wave of Chinese whispers emerged. “It took me nearly 4 years to convince General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (Rtd) to give me the rights to make this first of its kind biopic. But in the end, he did wholeheartedly grant that right,” the award winning movie producer/director recounts.

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