Monday, September 12, 2016

Nigeria Ebola movie gets resounding applause at TIFF

Apart from telling a global story from a Nigerian perspective, many were enthralled that 93 Days, the Ebola virus drama by Steve Gukas, was as gripping as the true account of the happenstances that held Lagos and other Nigerian cities by the jugular in 2014.

Incidentally, it is one of the films that celebrate Lagos State for its conquest of the virus within 93 days, despite a precarious compact population.

During the curtain call, Gukas shed more light on the essence of the film, which he said is a celebration of Lagos for its proactiveness in containing the virus as well as to immortalize the legendary doctors and nurses who put their lives in the line.

He said: “In this film, we did two things: challenging the perception about Nigeria and presenting it to outsiders to see. The other one is to ask very challenging questions about government. Because the truth of the matter is that government did a lot at that time but the health defense infrastructure in Nigeria is still very weak, to the extent that if this were to happen again, we would be struggling again. We have six different regions in Nigeria that are the key to how Nigeria is structured, and Lagos was the most prepared to be able to take care of this, so we were lucky it happened in Lagos. Had it happed somewhere in the North, somewhere in the East, or somewhere farther in the North East, the story we would be telling will be different. So the question we are asking our government is how prepared are we for next time?”

Responding, Lagos State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde noted that the state was indeed prepared for Ebola having invested hugely in health services and infrastructure. He said there was the need to archive reality; hence he was glad a film like ’93 Days’ was produced to tell the story. What is government doing? He asked rhetorically. “There are quite a lot. Lagos is a state of 21 million people, and that calls for pro-activeness. Our government in particular is investing in emergency health services and all I can say is that we deal with issues as they come and Lagos is ever prepared for any emergencies.”

After its successful screening at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the world premiere of 93 Days took place on Friday, 9th September 2016 at the Isabel Bader Theatre.

The event which started with the arrival of the cast, producers and director had the movie introduced by Cameron Bailey, Creative Director of TIFF.

The premiere was attended by some members of the cast, including Danny Glover, Bimbo Akinkola, Keppy Ekpenyong, Somkele Iyamah-Idlahama, Sola Oyebode, Associate Producer of 93 Days, Kemi DaSilva-Ibru as well as the Producers/Executive Producers; Bolanle Austen-Peters, Dotun Olakunri and Steve Gukas.

Also speaking during the Q&A, Glover emphasized how he was so proud to be a part of the film.

“It was important for me to be in this film because of the message. Nigeria is a dynamic great country; it’s a country where the people are challenging themselves. This is an example of how they challenged themselves and succeeded. I’m so proud to be a part of it.”

Scheduled for another premiere in Lagos on September 13 at The Rock Cathedral, Lekki, the movie will be showing in cinemas nationwide from September 16.

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