Nigerian feature film, Eyimofe (This Is My Desire), on Saturday, emerged winner of the Jury Award at the 11th edition of the World Cinema Amsterdam Competition, in the Netherlands.
In their debut film, twin brothers Arie and Chuko Esiri painted a realistic portrait of everyday life in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, by telling the stories of the fortunes of two of its inhabitants, who both dream of a fresh start in Europe. And members of the World Cinema jury chose the GDN Studios-produced film as the winner of the World Cinema Amsterdam’s biggest prize.
In their report, they described Eyimofe as “a tender film, about truly good and ambitious people that are often stopped dead in their tracks. It’s a film about dreams and aspirations being arrested in development, with many sudden turns in the story that result in a special kind of suspense: you sense where the people in this film are trying to go to, but you can’t really anticipate the obstacles big and small that they’ll come across, making it a subtle and layered story that allows its many characters of all walks of life to live with their own contradictions.
“Every person contains multitudes, every story has multiple dimensions,” noted the jury, before concluding: “… a rich and visually exciting tale about migration.”
For emerging winners of the Jury Award, the Esiri brothers not only received the award, they also received a cash prize of €5,000 for a future film project.
Two other awards were also presented on Saturday – the World Cinema Exchange Award, which went to Tunisian filmmaker Kaouther Ben Hania for his “thought-provoking film” The Man Who Sold His Skin, and the World Cinema Audience Award, which went to Rwandese director Joel Karekezi for his film The Mercy of the Jungle.
Ben Hania got a prize of €2,500 for a future film project, while Karekezi received a cash prive of €5,000, also for a future film project.
The World Cinema Jury Award is the second award Eyimofe will be bagging in the month of August, having earlier emerged as the Best Feature Narrative at this year’s BlackStar Film Festival, in Pennsylvania, the world’s premier celebration of Black, Brown, and Indigenous film and video artists.
Indeed, Eyimofe has represented Nigeria globally, having been selected for festivals in over 20 countries to date. These include the Berlin International Film Festival 2020, where it had its World Premiere; the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival; and the American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival. It has garnered several festival awards including ‘Winner, Best Fiction, New Filmmakers’ at the São Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil), and ‘Winner, Achille Valdata Award’ at the Torino Film Festival (Italy).
Fully financed in Nigeria and shot on 16mm, Eyimofe, which had its world premiere at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival, is the first film from GDN Studios. Directed by the Esiri brothers, and produced by Melissa O. Adeyemo, executive producers include Maiden Alex Ibru, Toke Alex Ibru, Olorogun Oskar Ibru, Kayode Akindele, and Ifeoma Esiri.
Set in Lagos, Nigeria, Eyimofe, a two-chapter film, follows the stories of Mofe (Jude Akuwudike), a factory technician, and Rosa (Temi Ami-Williams), a hairdresser, on their quest for what they believe will be a better life on foreign shores.
Eyimofe, following Janus Film’s acquisition of its rights for the North American market, is currently screening at the Roxie in San Francisco, California. It had previously been screened at movie theatres in the US cities of New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Winston-Salem, Brooklyn, Hudson, Tucson, and Dallas.
After San Francisco, Eyimofe will continue to open in more cities across the US and Canada. More information regarding this can be found at www.eyimofemovie.com.