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Nigerian filmmaker Okpue wins best director in U.S.

Ogo Okpue, a UK-based Nigerian filmmaker, has emerged as best director in a tie with Bryan Keith Montgomery Jnr., at the 2023 American Black Film…

Ogo Okpue, a UK-based Nigerian filmmaker, has emerged as best director in a tie with Bryan Keith Montgomery Jnr., at the 2023 American Black Film Festival Award for his film, “A Song From The Dark”.

Okpue, in a statement on Thursday, said the achievement was another milestone for the Nigerian entertainment industry in Miami Beach, Florida, U.S.

The American Black Film Festival, currently at its 27th annual edition, is the biggest black film festival in the world created to highlight audio-visual works of black origin.

Okpue, whose short films like “Saving Cain” and “Cat Face” have been recognised and screened at major film festivals around the world, said the recent feat was humbling for him, having dedicated three years to the film.

“Winning at the largest black film festival in the world for our film is an absolute honour.

“Three years grafting in the dark, and then within a year, we ended up in Miami Beach accepting two big prestigious awards; God did it. Congrats to my lead actress for winning Best Actor as well.

“Congrats to all my fellow 2023 ABFF winners. I will say many thanks to Jeff and Nicole Friday, for birthing ABFF and giving diverse voices such an amazing platform,” he said.

Speaking on the inspiration for the film, Okpue said it dated back to his grandmother.

“The story dates back to a certain period of my childhood when my family visited my grandmother in our village.

“She happened to be a well-respected traditionalist. Tales of her intrigued us and as I grew older, I regretted not knowing her more.

“She was an enigma and I wondered what it would have been like if some of her tales were captured in books.

“The world of African mysticism has not been explored enough in world cinema and most times it is vilified.

“I think in Africa, our superheroes have slept long enough; African stories are as diverse and as entertaining as the continent itself, so I thought ‘why not add more African heroes to the fictional world of cinema’?”

A Song From the Dark which also won the Best Actor category at the festival had six nominations at the 2022 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria, while Okpue won the Best Director for First Feature Film.

The film had Nollywood stars like Nse Ikpe Etim, and Wale Ojo, alongside Ghanaian-born Vanessa Vanderpuye, Octavia Gilmore, and Dean Kilby amongst others.

The film is a fantasy-horror, positioned to project heroes and heroines of African traditional mysticism. (NAN)

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