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“The world will watch my stories!” – Omoni Oboli on becoming TIFF’s #ShareHerJourney Ambassador

BellaNaija.com

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Omoni Oboli | Photo Credit: @omonioboli

Actress and Producer Omoni Oboli has been announced as one of five female ambassadors for the Toronto International Film Festival‘s #ShareHerJourney campaign.

Omoni Oboli TIFF Poster

The Share Her Journey campaign is an initiative by TIFF meant to “Champion female storytellers”.

Not long after the announcement the actress took to social media to express her joy to her fans and supporters, saying:

“??????Guess who just got announced as one of @tiff_net‘s ambassadors for the ‘Share Her Journey’ campaign! I’m so glad to be one of those inspiring the next generation of female filmmakers. Thanks for the opportunity Toronto International Film Festival. The world will watch my stories! ???? #Tiff2017 #ShareHerJourney#FemaleFilmakersRock #ChildOfGrace#Unstoppable #CantStopWontStop#TiffAmbassador ??????”

Congratulations to Omoni Oboli on this major “W”.

Photo Credit: Instagram @omonioboli

11 Comments

  1. Bolaji

    July 11, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    Whoop whoop! Congratulations. Hope you make the most of the opportunity to grow even more as a filmmaker.

  2. Jane

    July 11, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Congratulations

  3. Billionaire in grace

    July 11, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Wow congratulations

  4. Fabulous

    July 12, 2017 at 8:37 am

    Congratulations.

  5. David

    July 12, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Cameron Bailey and Rasha Saiti are doing the most! Their inclusion of Nollywood to TIFF is remarkable. I believe they will be one or two Nigerian film at TIFF this year, in fact I’m certain of one particular title.

    However, I fear we may not be ready for the international exposure that comes with going to TIFF. The press and the critics takes no prisoners. They will tell us how hard we suck if we dare to suck.

    Hopefully we put our best foot forward.

    Congrats to Omoni, hope this will be an eye opener and she leverages on this opportunity to push herself to make transformative Nigerian films.

    • Bolaji

      July 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm

      David, do tell us which film is going to TIFF this year….? I hope Nigerians realize a film festival is not a festival like a party. It is a market. So going there with with films that end up with no distribution is not growth. It is a reality check that Cameron is giving opportunities that we cannot really leverage. Where are the TIFF films from last year?

    • David

      July 12, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      Bolaji, first and foremost, I should state that I agree with most of your critical analysis on Nollywood regardless of the fact I’m a fan of the industry (and a few of its practitioners) whereas you had pointedly stated on another article that you’re not. But, unlike many fans of Nollywood, I am absolute aware of its numerous failings. I believe 99% of what the industry produces is mediocre, substandard or banal and that the other 0.99% is fairly good or average while 0.01% is good. You may wonder why one who holds such believe of an entire industry is a fan; the answer is complicated and would warrant a history of more than 2 decades support of the industry…

      Having said that, I’m totally aware of what a film festival is. And while it’s a market, its also a network for professional film practitioners (aspiring and promising ones alike). There’s a reason why same set of production companies and film makers are always official selections in film festivals — pedigree and networking. And the general believe that prestigious festivals DO NOT watch half of the submitted titles may be true. Cause every year tons of films (indie films) are rejected in festivals, while high profile films (indie films alike BT with stars and known filmmakers and sort) get selected. But when you watch the former and the later, you may find that all the former lacked was a “name”.

      Chances that an indie film with an unknown director or producer or a relatively new production company will get selected into a prestigious film festival is very slim. The cast or someone backing the film is an attraction. The qualification of the film maker is also a huge factor. Wonder why directors bio is needed when submitting a film to film festivals?

      A film, no matter how good, gets into festival through influence or promise that the film maker (director), if unknown, showed with a previous film.

      In doubt? Kindly state one film that had its breakthrough via festivals and I’d tell you how that film got selected into that very same festival, with a very quick research. Of course, they could be exceptions, but I dare say there are little to none. I stand corrected, though.

      Now, to the Nollywood film that will get selected to TIFF… Did you ask that in jest? If so, may I ask you how Omoni got selected to be an ambassador on this TIFF initiative? Think it’s because her film showed she’s creatively on par with these other women? Cameron and his team picked her because, of course, they want to include Nollywood to the festival and they’ve met her and her network game was on point. Do you know Omoni? I’d tell you about her in one line: she has the best network game in the whole Nollywood. Ask about her. Just ask about her!!! Whether the person telling you about her network game likes it or not, no one can deny her determination and wit. Either something she said made Cameron feel she is promising (or her hampers game was lit). Can be both. Can be more…

      Omoni aside, there were others who went to TIFF last year and some of them had previously been in TIFF and I can tell you that Rasha Saiti took interest in one of them and that person has film in works. Should that person submit that film to TIFF, chances Cameron and Rasha will give the film a slot is VERY high! No, I won’t be mentioning names, but in two months time you will most likely see a Nollywood title in TIFF’s official selection.

      On distribution, while I understand your point that Nollywood films that went to TIFF last year didn’t translate to distribution, and although I know the reason is that those films, sorry to say, didn’t have what it takes, finding distribution isn’t an easy fit in the film world at large. I read somewhere that only 3% of indie films gets any kind of distribution. There are films from other parts of the world too get into film festivals and find no distribution. Not because they weren’t good, but because buyers didn’t simply believe in them enough. What a Nollywood film getting into TIFF I hope would do is give the film maker a chance to network and enter international co-productions, because I frankly think that’s the way forward.

  6. Bolaji

    July 12, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Well hello “David” your honesty is appreciated. You said it, I did not as to why of all the black women in the world in the film industry, Omoni of “Wives On Strike” and “Okafors Law” fame was selected to be an ambassador for TIFF ?

    We all know Omoni’s “networking” game ? But the entertainment industry is also very flavor of the month is. She now has a platform that could give her a major break. Will she deliver because Cameron may not be there forever……ya know.

    Yep festivals champion people all the time everywhere, but you last because after they champion you, you have something to offer. You know, the take the horse to the water but can’t force it to drink adage. What’s the story behind Monsters, Katalin Varga, City Of God, Y Tu Mama Tambien, I Will Follow, Tsotsi, Run, Viva Riva, Caramel, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, Evolution Of A Criminal, An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty etcetera etcetera

    I expect TIFF to include a Nigerian film in the program this year, otherwise “city to city” will be a waste. Question is, will the filmmakers simply flood Social media with photographs like Lala Akindoju and co, or will they actually realize the red carpet is a tiny affair and it is about film business?

    Will Nigerians do international coproductions ie not be the center of attention? Oga, with our ehos, shoulders and naija nor dey carry last mentality, I want to see that though I think Nollywood could do with attracting experienced international people for collaborations. But we cannot even collaborate at home……where frankly there are many talented people struggling alone instead of slaying together.

    But the reality is, I just wanna know who is getting into TIFF this year.

    Will it be….

    Genevieve
    Kunle Afolayan

    Both in the spotlight last year.

    Don Omope and Tatu aka producer of Taxi Driver and Wedding Party both in city to city

    OC Ukeje with Fish Fash, I meant Potato Potarto or summin like that…. Sorry but it is silly name for a film ? He was in Rising Star

    Cmon, give us the breaking news lol!

    I am not a fan of Nollywood in it’s current state because I am a fan of Nigeria and my Nigeria can do better. When I go to your cinemas I pay for Hollywood films. I want to, really want to pay for Nollywood.

    Drops mic. ?

    • David

      July 13, 2017 at 12:42 pm

      Monster – Allan Niblo, Nick Love… the producers of Bronson, amongst others were attached.
      Katalin Varga- Oana Giurgiu and Tudor Giurgiu, were in Berlin with a film, Love Stick, before Katalin Varga which got its breakthrough at Berlin.
      *City Of God – Fernando Meirielles had interesting slates before the film, in fact his previous film Domesticas had been to couple of known film festivals.
      *Y Tu Mama Tambien – Alonso was not only a promising film maker (made a couple of well received short films), David Linde, executive producer of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon backed the film!
      *I Will Follow – Oh, Ava was a reputable Hollywood publicist.
      *Viva Riva – Was an international co-production.
      *Tsotsi – Was an international co-production. Not only that it had producers with Oscar nominated films.
      *Run – Which Run? Too many Run titled films ? Is it Philippe Lacôte’s Run? If yes, the film was an international co-production with major funding from a French production co.
      *A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night – Regardless of the film haven being a short that generated interest, I believe, producer, Justin Begnaud had a strong network.
      An Oversimplification of a Beauty – Either Terrence was a Sundance lab fellow or the project was entered into Sundance lab, can’t recall which.

      This is not to dispute your valid points, (or negate the fact that these film, the ones I’ve seen marked with *, are a work of art) Cameron can only do his best to give us exposure but we need to leverage this opportunity to put ourselves on the map as serious film makers, rather than enjoy the razzmattaz and return with a chip on our shoulders and continue doing poorly made films. I think we need to re-evaluate our films and tell ourselves the gospel truth. You can’t critic a Nigerian film maker… Well, you can but if you do they will ask you questions like “what have you done?” Or, say “go and do your own”.

      Such mentality, ego like you’ve rightly stated and willful ignorance is the bane of Nollywood’s existence and the very reason why its backward. It’s okay not to know, but it’s appalling not to know and be arrogant and defensive and confident. Majority of Nollywood peeps are like that. As long as Nollywood (not the industry, but fame and connection derived from it) affords them a lifestyle and *high* social class attainable in Nigeria and the world, my brother, WHO ARE YOU to critic their film?

      In rooms I cannot speak of, there is a wide believe that our films do not perform well internationally because the international community wants to see, parapharasing… Africans as quaint, unintelligible people living in mud houses or suffering. They disregard the actual fact that our story telling is weak with expository dialogues and that our films lack cinematic finesse (they think its all about shooting on HD). Bolaji, you will be shocked how many Nollywood peeps thinks like this. I am a fan of some, others I couldn’t care less about their “acclaim”, but how does one deal with such mindset? How does one grow if they believe this? How will they collaborate when they are seemingly all in “who’s bigger” competition?

      Unlike you though, I rarely watch Hollywood movies in Nigeria cinemas because most of what is available there are blockbusters. Not like the nollywood films I watch are anything to write home about (I mean, I suffer headaches watching a bunch), but still I try to “support” them.

      Tell your friend, a friend advised me to reserve my comment on 76 ?

      On “breaking the news”, you mentioned the “name” already, so let’s just keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

      Dueces! ?

  7. Bolaji

    July 13, 2017 at 12:30 am

    Ps 76 said they got distribution by Shoreline at TIFF. But did the distributor sell it anywhere? Asking for a friend. ?

  8. Bolaji

    July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    @David, so basically, we both agree on everything. 🙂 Phew! We should start a club, Normally telling the truth in Nollywood, gets you blacklisted lol! Let us pray, that folks learn that bringing reputable folks together adds value to a package [my real reason for listing the films above], rather than this, I want to Write, Produce, Edit, Direct, do Production Design on my film coz it shows I am a hustler….

    ps. I shall tell my friend your answer on 76.
    ps 2. I kinda wanted it to be Isoken that got to TIFF. Jokes!

    Omoni, no pressure. But you will need to fix all the wrongs over the years for all o’ dem! First job, hire a scriptwriter… Maybe act, do not direct. Producing is also filmmaking. Learn from all the actors before you who are making films, they are surrounding themselves with people with the best scripts and eyes and using their notoriety to pull resources in.

    And then notice that to be an ambassador is not for people to ‘see your work’ but for you to champion your fellow female filmmakers. You could just find your dream collaborators there and please get out of your comfort zone and look outside Nollywood. If it works, 10% is mine 🙂

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