Being in Leicester Square at the Empire echoed how far the Nollywood film industry has come. Walking up to the cinema foyer there were ample amount of people waiting to buy tickets to see this highly anticipated movie. The trailer had built our imagination to the brim and the star studded cast graced the Red Carpet looking like Hollywood had landed in Central London.
Those who had tickets joined a longer cue and they started to shuffle them in. A very well organised team assured that the night ran smoothly. I took it upon myself to wonder around and see what was happening and stumbled into the VIP area where a champagne reception was being held, the food area was filled with heads trying to make sure they had popcorn at the ready, the essence of pride overwhelmed the walls of the Empire. We have arrived, was the message it ozzed. Film crews and paps, flashing lights gave an effect of a true premier. Fashion faux pas and Fashion do's gave an eclectic mix to the crowd. The Red Carpet affair with the likes of Patrick Campbell the producer, Obi Emelonye the Director, Fatima Jabbe, Osita Iheme, Keisha Buchanan, Patrick Katugah, Eddie Kadi, Yolanda Brown, Guvna B, Kele Le Roc, Sola Oyebade, Jimmy Akinbola and many more.
It was time to sit down, look through our goodie bags and mingle whilst all 1300 audience members took to thier seats. Finally it was time, an introduction of the cast members and the movie itself we engaged with them, several times we were asked by the Producer Patrick Campbell, Genevieve Nnaji and Osita Iheme "Are you ready fof the journey" which seemed to be the theme of the night and the crowd answered with a roar "Yes we are". On that note they rolled the film, in expectation and anticipation we watched with ooo's and ahhh's with empathy, excitement and laughter. The Mirror Boy was about 12 year old Tijan played by the 19 year old Edward Kagatuga who goes through his journey to understanding and embracing his African culture and background. He gets into a fight in school and his mother Teema played by the delectable Genevieve Nnaji takes him back home to the Gambia where he gets lost in the market on thier second day in the country, he sees a boy in a reflection of a window smiling at him and from there his journey began. We go along this journey with him to self discovery, we experienced an adventure, we saw a young man growing, The Mirror Boy provided entertainment as well as education and comedy and it came to an end. We had an ease to our thoughts and as we spilled out to the doors we glowed with excitement of what we just witnessed. Mini conversations about the movie itself, our favourite parts. Expressing our sentiments to the producer and actors proud that our money was well spent.
The Mirror Boy resonated memories of being a young child when my mother would often make it clear that if I wasn't behaving to her expectations I'd be going back home. Being able to relate to the young man I felt The Mirror Boy transcends over to other cultures. It enhanced the Nollywood ideas that have been there previously and exceeded expectations in comparison to other Nollywood movies. I had seen prior to the premier a behind the scenes footage where Genevieve Nnaji questioned whether The Mirror Boy was a Nollywood Movie which she feels is a good enough movie that could make it worldwide. Her stand is indirectly challenging the Nollywood industry to do better same way Obi Emolonye challenged it in making this movie. Saying we could do better be more detailed take pride in what we do as Nollywood film makers, actresses, actors and audience members.
It was an epic experience and I am proud to have been part of a revolution. Africa Rise Up. This is the beginning of our journey.
Mirror Boy is highly recommended.