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“I’ve always had a hunger for visual storytelling” – Genevieve Nnaji talks to Women and Hollywood about “Lionheart”

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TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 08: Genevieve Nnaji attends the “Lionheart” premiere during 2018 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada.

Genevieve Nnaji sat down with Women and Hollywood prior to the premiere of her directorial debut “Lionheart” at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to discuss the inspiration behind the movie, challenges she faced and her inspiration for going into filmmaking.

The star actress and filmmaker described “Lionheart” as “an inspiring drama about family values, succession, and most importantly, female empowerment. It highlights the various challenges faced by women, particularly in male-dominated industries.”

On what drew her to the story, Genevieve said: “The message and the environment which forces a heroine to shoulder the load. Questions of succession, gender roles, and traditional versus modern ideals surround the story. Plus, that it was rooted in African culture which made it even more fascinating. So, drawing inspiration from a close friend and family run businesses in Nigeria, “Lionheart” was created.”

Genevieve told Women and Hollywood she “wants people to reflect on the endless possibilities of growth and success that come with men and women, the old and the young, working together: a world where insecurities are tackled and equality is encouraged,” after seeing the movie.

“We need to be more open and accepting of competition instead of feeling threatened by it,” she added.

Her biggest challenge making the film will be “playing both roles of director and lead actor,” she says. “Fortunately, I was surrounded by a very efficient and effective crew. With their help, plus adrenaline and sheer determination, we were able to make a movie,” she added.

When asked about what inspired her become a filmmaker, she said:

I’ve always had a hunger for visual storytelling. There is so much material out there that is still untold — countless real-life stories from within and outside Africa, and today, we have the chance to tell it ourselves. My hope is that Africans will have adequate representation globally, and be given a seat at the table in big studio productions as we continue to grow and improve from within the continent.

I also believe that my generation of women need to continue to work at paving a path better than the one that exists today for the future generation of women in film.

Read more on the interview on Women and Hollywood.

Photo Credit: Presley Ann/Getty Images

9 Comments

  1. Nil

    September 10, 2018 at 1:20 am

    Congratulations Genevieve Nnaji! Keep soaring.

  2. PROUDLY NIGERIAN BOY

    September 10, 2018 at 2:18 am

    Fight On Girl, Always Reminds Me of Your Lead Role in IJELE #1999 With Sam Dede.

    • PROUDLY NIGERIAN BOY

      September 12, 2018 at 12:00 am

      IT’S SEPTEMBER 11 TODAY, MAY WE NOT BE UNDER ANY ATTACK AS IT WERE IN THE STATES 2001 IN JESUS NAME AMEN.

    • PROUDLY NIGERIAN BOY

      September 12, 2018 at 12:15 am

      FROM “MOST WANTED #1998” TO “IJELE #1999” TO “SHARON STONE #2001” TO “POWER OF LOVE #2001/2002” TO “BLOOD-SISTERS #2003” TO A DIRECTOR IN #2018 (IT TAKES ONLY A LION HEART TO BECOME A LIONESS). GENEVIEVE IS ONE IN A MILLION! GENEVIEVE IS A LIONESS!

  3. mamaisabel

    September 10, 2018 at 8:14 am

    She was addressing Hollywood dear not Nollywood.

  4. yes maam

    September 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm

    ” My hope is that Africans will have adequate representation globally, and be given a seat at the table in big studio productions as we continue to grow and improve from within the continent.

    I also believe that my generation of women need to continue to work at paving a path better than the one that exists today for the future generation of women in film.”

    So Genny, where are the women in your cast and crew on the red carpet or at the screening?

    Why do Africans need representation in big studio productions…. Ever thought about collaborating with other Africans and build a system that is for us by us?

  5. Awesome

    September 11, 2018 at 11:02 am

    @Yes Maam… I was about responding to the questions you asked in your comment till it occurred to me that you have been talking trash on all posts concerning GENNY on this blog… You can’t keep HATING… While the world keep celebrating GENNY for her giant strides… It’s allowed !!

    • yes maam

      September 11, 2018 at 5:13 pm

      Which world exactly? Honey, please show me reviews of the film from the international press. Glad you have been noticing my comments though. I feel special. Weh done!

  6. isaobi

    September 11, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Congrats to Genevieve. However the Netflix breakthrough she has now is not just because she made a good film but also because she has the right connection !! She is a close friend to Funa Maduka, a Harvard trained Nigerian who happens to be one of the Netflix Original Films Executives. We hope in the nearest future, Funa Maduka would bring more competent and deserving Nigerian producers/directors on board.

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