By Augusta Okon
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The highly acclaimed film “ THE MIRROR BOY” starring Genevieve Nnaji, Osita Iheme, Fatima Jabbe, Edward kagutuzi, and directed by ingenuity laden Obi Emelonye, premieres at the Silverbird Cinema on 5th August 2011, with an immediate release to the public . The Awards- winning film has indubitably powered a cinematic revolution for the Nollywood film makers both at home and in the Diaspora. The Mirror Boy which was made by the Nollywood Factory in partnership with OH Films broke away from the usual “cinematic conformist rule” to set new records, hence serving as a trail blazer for others to follow suit. Many have asked why there's so much buzz being created about the Mirror Boy? Now check this out :

The Mirror Boy is :
• The first African film to premiere at the world famous Empire Cinema, Leicester square, London (this particular cinema is renowned for hosting premieres of Hollywood films in the UK and no Nigerian or African has ever used this prestigious landmark for such. About 1,323 people attended the premiere of the Mirror Boy there)

• First Nigerian film to receive UK wide Odeon cinema release, the biggest African UK release ever, top 5 Odeon London opening w/e, top 20 all UK movies

• The longest run of any African film in any UK cinemas

• Biggest premieres ever in Gambia & Silverbird Ghana, with a sold out extravaganza on 17th of June at the Silverbird cinema Accra

• Twice profiled on CNN as the Future of Nollywood
Awards and nominations include:
- Break through Actor ( Genevieve Nnaji) at the Monaco film festival 2011

- Best Young Actor ( Edward kagutuzi) AMAA 2011
- Best Film & Best Supporting Actor (Osita Iheme) – AMAA nominees 2011

- Best picture (Obi Emelonye) & Best Pan African Actor (Edward kagutuzi) – Nigerian Entertainment Awards (nominees)

- Whooping Twelve nominations (ZAAFA Awards) to be held in October in the UK ( Best Film, Best Editing, Best Story, Best Sound editing, Best Child Actor Male, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Producer, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, Best Lead Actress, Best Lead Actor).

One can't forget to mention the film festivals as well – Monaco Film Festival (Official Selection), Cannes Film Festival (Unofficial Screening), Africa in Motion Film Festival (Official Selection), Dubai Film Festival (Official Selection). The Mirror Boy ( “TMB”) flaunts an array of a mixed cast (Nigerians, Gambians, Britons, Ugandan) working with a highly skilled crew who know their onions such as Clive Norman (Director of Photography), who has over 30 International awards in his kitty, including BTAA, Royal Television awards and Promax, Andrew Webber, the experienced film editor, Gabriel Okorie (Multiple award winning special effects & makeup artiste). The movie was produced by Obi Emelonye & Patrick Campbell with Akin Salami as the Executive producer, and Associate Producers ( Gordon Irole, Fatima Jabbe and Charles Thompson (MBE). Sound tracks were by Cashino NDT, Luciano, and Fragrance.

The Mirror Boy unveils the story about Tijan, a 12 year old London born African boy (Edward kagutuzi) who is taken by his mother Teema (Genevieve Nnaji) to Gambia for the first time. He gets lost in a crowded street market called Serekunda having been distracted by a boy he'd earlier seen in the mirror when they arrived in Banjul. His mother begins a frantic search for him. Tijan must confront his deepest fears as he tries to find his way back to his mother and embarks on a journey of self discovery, led by the enigmatic Mirror Boy (Osita Iheme), a journey in which the lines between reality and fantasy; the physical and the spiritual are blurred. A mystical and cathartic climax helps Tijan to unravel the mystery of the Mirror Boy…

According to Obi Emelonye who was interviewed by the BBC and CNN, “ the Mirror Boy was shot in two months, 80% in Gambia and 20% in the UK.. It is a universal family adventure film, a modern – age rite of passage movie that explores the concept of identity crisis amongst children born in the Diaspora”. His directorial credits include but not limited to Echoes of war (2003), Sweet Betrayal (2004), The London Successor (2005), Lucky Joe (2006), The Asylum (2008), Quiet Storm (2009) and now, The Mirror Boy. He brings his stature as a lawyer and the attendant pragmatism to the sometimes chaotic world of film and productions. His multi- disciplinary approach to film making, his relentless creative drive and an uncanny sense of artistic style has incontrovertibly made him stand out as one of the UK's contemporary directors.

Many Nigerians have asked for the reason behind the use of Gambia as the films setting rather than Nigeria in the story. He didn't write the story with Gambia in mind, his first choice was the Obudu Cattle ranch in Cross River state where he wanted to shoot to promote the Tourism potentials in Nigeria and Africa as a whole. Unfortunately the government officials declined his request for logistics support. Another door of opportunity opened when Fatima Jabbe ( a Gambian and wife of the king in the film) offered to get logistics support from the Gambian government. The President, Vice- President, Minister of Culture and communication, pledged logistics support and provided same, ranging from accommodation in a Five Star Hotel near the beach, vehicles fuelled straight from the State House, security, props and freedom to shoot anywhere. Names, places had to be changed to suit the environment and to give back to a country that had willingly offered to make the Mirror Boy project a reality.

It was also difficult to find a Nigerian boy to play the role of 12 year old Tijan in the UK after four auditions had been carried out. The role was further extended to Africans , but the suitable person for the role was still not found until an agent sent Edward's picture ( who was 19 but could pass for the twelvish age) and bam! Tijan was found.

According to Augusta Okon, Head of Strategy and PR for the Mirror Boy (Nigeria), “movie goers are assured of enjoying a thrilling ride in the Mirror Boy train as they embark on a journey alongside the film's characters with each unfolding scene. There's never a dull moment in the film with intermittent comical relief, suspense filled, emotional laden, exhilarating acts, spun around highly powered cinematography, sound, special /visual effects, beautiful sites, rich African culture , and a contemporary feel as well ”.

Movie goers will certainly get their monies worth and leave the cinemas after watching the film with a deep sense of satisfaction and pride for the quantum leap created by The Mirror Boy in the Movie Industry. The Mirror Boy, premieres on the 5th of August 2011 as earlier stated at the silver bird cinemas. Movie goers can also buy tickets to watch same on the premiere date and see the stars in the movie, stars in the Entertainment Industry (movies, music, comedy, dance), dignitaries, high networth individuals who will grace the ground breaking event. The film is being distributed by Blue pictures Ltd, the foremost film distribution company in Nigeria and shows in all cinemas ( Silverbird, Ozone, Genesis Deluxe) from 5th of August 2011.

The Mirror Boy will take you on an interesting journey that will linger on in your minds … for a long time to come.