Nigerian feature film Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) has emerged Best Feature Narrative at the 2021 BlackStar Film Festival.
The Best Experimental Film award went to Letter From Your Far-Off Country directed by Suneil Sanzgiri.
Dear Philadelphia by Renee Maria Osubu and Elena Michèle Stephenson won Best Short Documentary, while award for Best Short Narrative went to Lizard by Akinola Davies Jr.
Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh’s Writing With Fire won the Best Feature Documentary award.
Presented this year with lead sponsor Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, the Jurors comprising of Dagmawi Woubshet, Rajendra Roy and Tayarisha Poe, while declaring Eyimofe winner of the category, stated:
“Eyimofe (This Is My Desire) is a beautifully shot, vibrant film whose cinematography believes fully in its environment, and carries an acting style that captures a complete snapshot of life in a place.”
This year’s BlackStar Film Festival lineup included approximately 80 films, including 19 world premieres, representing 27 countries. In addition to presenting an array of live programmes, panels, and select in-person events and screenings, this year also marked BlackStar’s selection by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival for both short documentary and short narrative films, making BlackStar’s Best Narrative Short and Best Documentary Short winners eligible for entrance at the Academy Awards.
The 2021 BlackStar Film Festival also featured several in-person screenings, including the world premiere of feature documentary Eyes on the Prize: Hallowed Ground (directed by Sophia Nahli Allison), which screened online and in person at the Mann Center for Performing Arts in advance of its streaming availability on HBO Max.
Recall that Eyimofe opened its US screening on Friday, July 23, at the Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, New York, United States, following Janus Film’s acquisition of its rights for North American market. While the film’s impressive screening continues in New York and Los Angeles, going into second week at the Laemmle Royal and third week at Film Forum, its also commenced week-long run in Atlanta, GA (Landmark Midtown), Albuquerque, NM (Guild Cinema) and Winston-Salem, NC (a/perture).
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 twin brothers, Arie and Chuko Esiri 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 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).