LionHeart Becomes Netflix’s First Nigerian Original Movie

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Produced by actress and producer Genevieve Nnaji at The Entertainment Network (TEN), “Lionheart” follows the life of Adaeze who works as an executive for her father’s transport company, Lionheart Transport. During her time at the company, Adaeze has been an exemplary and sensible employee with strong business and interpersonal skills. When her father falls ill, the quirky uncle Godwill receives a less-than-deserved promotion instead of Adaeze and her rival, (Kalu Egbui Ikeagwu). It is revealed that the company is struggling financially, forcing the characters to save the businesses.

“Lionheart”, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) recently, is a directorial debut adding to the growing proliferation of African and black diaspora narratives worldwide. It is the first Netflix original film from the West African country, expanding the list of authentic movies inspired by the region and continent.

Examining the film industry beyond Netflix, observers will see a steady output of African-inspired movies. Earlier in the year, Ryan Coogler ’s superhero movie “Black Panther” made over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, making it the fifth Marvel film to ever achieve that landmark. Featuring actors such as Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa (the new king of Wakanda), Michael B. Jordan as the villain Erik Killmonger and Danai Gurira as Okoye, “Black Panther” takes place in the fictional African nation Wakanda powered by a metal called Vibranium.  The film paid homage to Africa’s multifaceted culture. Furthermore, Tomi Adeyemi’s best-selling fantasy novel “Children of Blood and Bone” is set to be adapted into a movie in the near future.

As a nation, Nigeria has the second largest movie industry in the world and it has played a major role in showcasing the country’s culture globally. Nollywood is a multi-billion dollar industry and has gained great success since the release of its first movie “Living in Bondage” in 1992. Accounting for somewhere in the region of around 2 million employees, Nigeria’s film sector continues to add a creative dimension to the country. The government considers Nollywood as a significant part of its Growth and Economic Plan for 2020.

Nnaji produced her first movie “Road to Yesterday” in 2015, which made N30million at the box office.

Lionheart offers another look into Nigerian life. The film stands as a commendable achievement for Nnaji and a history-making moment for Nigeria.