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Nigerian Films and Series We're Excited About in 2022
There's optimism around the Nigerian film industry this year because of the ambition of the projects coming out.
“I get the feeling 2022 is a game-changing year for Nollywood,” Jade Osiberu tweeted recently. It is a feeling shared by many, including advertising executive turned filmmaker Editi Effiong, who in 2021 tweeted, “people are making mad films in Nollywood this year.”
It is true. The Nollywood films coming out this year are some of the most ambitious projects from the industry. There is a million-dollar drama, a big-budget crime drama on Lagos underbelly and a kickass supernatural thriller based on the mermaid spirit.
Here’s a list for you to bookmark.
The Black Book
Editi Effiong's directorial debut is probably the most anticipated Nollywood film of 2022. It is a million-dollar drama that delves into the Nigerian military’s shenanigans in the 80s, but it is also a human story about a father seeking justice.
“Old scores bubble to the surface when a man's only son is killed. He must fall back on his past to find justice.”
The Black Book might produce a career-best performance from Richard Mofe-Damijo, who was given a rare chance for a “year-long prep, which included a strict diet for nine months, three days a week in the gym.” Effiong has praised RMD's dedication and performance, and we look forward to it.
The Black Book stars RMD, Denola Grey, Ade Laoye, Femi Branch, Sam Dede.
Mami Wata feels like the film CJ Obasi has always wanted to make. He started working on it in 2016. The film has gone through nine drafts, film labs and workshops, including the Venice Film Festival's Final Cut, which offers filmmakers an opportunity to present films still in production to international distributors and film professionals.
A kickass supernatural thriller shot entirely in black and white on a beach in the Benin Republic, Mami Wata is based on the popular West African folklore of water spirit.
“When Zinwe visits her late grandmother's village - a small rural fish village – she must confront her true spiritual destiny and save her people from the hands of the ruthless and violent Sergeant Jasper to usher in a new age of blessing and prosperity.”
Mami Wata is produced by Oge Obasi and stars the talented Uzoamaka Aniunoh as Zinwe and veteran Emeka Amakeze as Jasper.
Dare Olaitan has always wanted to make a horror film. “I think I want to do some horror,” he told Arise 360 during the press run for his sophomore, Knockout Blessing. “I want to do some scary stuff … have you seen Jordan Peele's Get Out? A social commentary horror, that's what I wanna do.”
That horror film is (probably) Ile Owo. The film follows a young girl from a poor home who's struggled with love and is under pressure to marry into wealth. She finally meets Billionaire Ade, and he's perfect, but she wonders why a rich man would want to marry her. After accepting his proposal, a series of increasingly disturbing discoveries lead her to an unimaginable truth. (From Olaitan's past films, we know he's both curious and fascinated about Nigerian greed. Ile Owo will probably see him tackle the subject using horror.)
The film is the second collaboration between Olaitan's Singularity Media and Kayode Kasum's Film Trybe, following the buddy comedy Dwindle they co-directed. Ile Owo features his most starry cast with names like Sophie Alakija, Akin Lewis, Tina Mba and Efa Iwara.
No Man's Land
Inspired by the Tarkwa Bay demolitions and the continuous evictions of poor people from their homes to build luxury estates, No Man's Land tells a story of how these evictions alter the lives of the families involved. It follows AY and Remember, siblings who watch their lives and dreams snatched away as soldiers vacate them from their homes.
The film is the directorial debut of one of Nollywood's more promising talents, Blessing Uzzi. It stars first-time actors alongside powerhouse names like Sola Sobowale and Seun Kuti. Here's a taste of what to expect:
Gangs of Lagos
Gangs of Lagos is Jade Osiberu's long-awaited sophomore project, and as you can guess from the title, it is about Lagos gangs. Details are super scarce, but it stars Adesua Etomi, Tobi Bakre and singer Chike in lead roles.
Shanty Town (series)
Shanty Town is another trip to Lagos underbelly. It is a crime thriller that connects Lagos gangs and state politics through three prostitutes who unravel a criminal ring with rising influence among the state's political elite. They must work together to break free from the shackles that bind them or perish in Shanty Town.
The star-packed crime thriller is directed by Dimeji Ajobola (Ratnik) and written by Xavier Ighorodje (Africa Magic's Enakhe) and Donald Tombia. It features Nollywood veterans Chidi Mokeme, RMD, Sola Sobowale, Ini Edo, Nse Ikpe Etim, Uche Jombo alongside Nancy Isime, Ali Nuhu and Zuby Michael.