The Prince And The First Lady. - How 76 Attracted Presidential Attention
The event was the premiere of the movie 76 which had been in the making for quite some time now. Delayed partly because of politics. Having toured some key festivals around the world, this was a homecoming in advance of the films debut in cinemas on the 25th of November and to welcome it back to Nigeria. To mark the occasion, we thought it would be appropriate to ask for the attention of the First Lady Aisha Buhari. To my surprise we got it.
76 is actually more than meets the eye and we knew that the First Lady unlike many people, was aware that our film is not just ours but Nigeria's. It speaks to officer's wives, young Nigerians, the elderly, our leaders and most of all - to women. And to each they get its message loud and clear.
Representing Her Excellency, First Lady Aisha Buhari was the Lagos state First Lady Bolanle Ambode who dropped everything to make sure she attended the event. In our typical 76 fashion, we were precise with time and had our full retinue of cast in attendance. Everybody was a VIP and a well laid out plan kicked into action.
Senator Ben Bruce, Mrs. Aisha Oyebode, the first daughter representing the family of the late General Murtala and a celebrity list which would be the envy of even an awards ceremony or a Presidential dinner; sat down to watch 76. Nobody moved for 2 hours.
The rest as they say is all history. In the words of the First Lady, "This is one of the best things that I have seen made from Nigeria and HE Madam Aisha who insisted I must be here will get the full report as soon as I get back. I dropped everything to attend this event and it could not have been a better use of my time. In the end, I was glued to my seat not wanting to even get up. You and your team have done Nigeria proud. Thank you."
Aisha Oyebode nee Murtala, who heads the Murtala Muhammed Foundation was glowing with praises after watching the film. "You people have made an amazing film, unlike any other and what you did with the music is a work of art on its own. I'm speechless. Impressed does not even begin to describe the way I feel. You were brutally honest, but artistically true."
Senator Ben Bruce who had earlier in the week predicted that the film would smash box office records raised his predictions even higher after watching the full film to say that it would surpass 2 million dollars in Nigeria and Ghana alone. Nobody has done this good a film. Nobody. It will appeal to the young, the old, women, men, lovers of comedy and lovers of history. It has pain, laughter, suspense and action. All tied up in one and it is so masterfully crafted, you don't want it to end."
At the end of the night, the cast and crew came out and took a bow to a more than 5 minute standing ovation. It could not have gone any better. 76 comes out in cinemas on the 25th of November but makes its next stop as the closing film for the African Film Festival in Lagos. That date is the 18th of November at the Filmhouse IMAX cinema in Lekki. Just saw testing yesterday. The IMAX effect makes it even better.
To register, go to http://www.afriff.com. Limited seats available. We thank God for using 76 to prove - yes we can.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld from Glo Mobile.