Nigeria, will step into the spotlight at the Toronto Int’l Film Festival this year as the selection for its annual City to City program.
Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey, who will curate the Lagos program, made the announcement.
Now in its eighth year, City to City features recent work from filmmakers living and working in hot spots of global cinema. Previous editions have showcased London, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Mumbai, Athens and Seoul.
Bailey, who first visited Lagos in 2005, said he was “so impressed by the vitality of the city,” the hub of an industry considered second only to Bollywood in terms of its annual output.
While the Nigerian industry, known as Nollywood, has earned worldwide recognition — and notoriety — for its frantic shoots and shoestring budgets, Bailey says he has seen the biz mature through the years, offering local helmers an opportunity to “start plugging into the formal industry around the world.”
“There was always a sense that the work coming out of Lagos was very commercial, was made for the DVD market…and wasn’t really best-suited to play at international festivals,” he says. “But I think that’s changing.”
Citing rising budgets, improved production values, and more ambitious story-telling, Bailey says “there is a whole new generation that can really make the most of the exposure” in Toronto.
The 41st annual Toronto Int’l Film Festival runs Sept. 8 to 18, 2016. Film submissions are now open, and the deadline is May 6. The late submission deadline is June 3.
The films selected for the City to City program will be announced in August.