The African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) winning film Soul Diaspora will premiere at the Ozone Cinemas, Yaba, Lagos, on January 28.
The film, written and directed by Odera Ozoka, a Nigerian based in Los Angeles, was adjudged best film from the Diaspora at the 2009 AMAAs.
After touring several film festivals and winning awards worldwide, Soul Diaspora will now be seen by a larger Nigerian audience during its red carpet opening on Saturday.
After much acclaim in the West where its “dark, gritty” story has been hailed for its depiction of the harsh realities of immigrant life, Ozoka looks forward to see the reaction of his Nigerian audience.
“People think that when you go overseas life becomes easy but it’s not true,” Ozoka told our reporter at the Ozone Cinemas.
In the film, the lead character a Nigerian immigrant named Saidu goes to America, a country where he thinks things will be better and easier but then he finds out it’s not really different. The official film statement says that Saidu “is forced to overcome sleepless nights of his tormented past in Africa. The audience finds him alone in this modern world, often hearing voices in his head, sometimes not even his, as the film interweaves colour and black and white to illustrate this protagonist’s conflicted behaviour and tortured mental state.”
“No matter where you go to search for a better life, if you’re not satisfied with who you are, nothing changes. You’re going to go through the challenges of loneliness, sadness and the demons follow you to any part of the world,” said Ozoka who wants the audience to see something that they have not seen before, different from the kind of Nollywood film much of the Lagos audience is used to.
“I’m not saying that Nigerians shouldn’t bother [to go to America or Europe], I’m just saying that be realistic. America is a great place to live but the idea that if you go there all your problems will be solved is a total myth,” he said.
It is a thought echoed by one of the film’s producers French woman Clotilde Delavennat who has been living in the United States for four years.
“Sometimes your struggles start [in America] because you realise that you’re nothing in their eyes. Unfortunately you have to start from the bottom and the bottom is so low that you never feel comfortable and you never live the kind of life you want to have, “said Delavennat.
|Soul Diapora producer Clotilde Delavennat and writer/director Odera Ozoka|
The film explores the loneliness faced by immigrants as they try to fit into a society that is different from theirs as well as to stay on the right side of the law.
“There are lots of moments when you’re in a different country, no matter how much you love the place, you know that you’re not home yet,” said Delavennat.
Among the stars that are expected on the red carpet on Saturday is Sierra Leonean actor Sadiq Abu who played the role of Saidu in the film. Abu was nominated in the best actor category of the 2009 AMAAs.