Since I can remember, I have been an ardent follower of Nollywood movies but none has driven me to put pen on paper like Jenifa in London. I attended my very first Premiere at the Light House in the South East of London.
Albeit the humble but decent venue, the ambience of the place was very warm. The Jenifa brand epitomises simplicity and honesty – at least I can draw that conclusion from her work – and this event was no exception.
Londoners came prepared to enjoy the night and there was this air of friendliness and acceptance about the attendees. I’ve attended quite a few events in the UK, so I’m not sure if it is that Jenifa has her own breed of fans or that the Jenifa brand brings out the realness in people.
The entire package was very open-hearted, people came in their droves, smiles enveloped the entire venue; this woman “Jenifa” is indeed loved!
The only downer to this event was the 3-hour wait period prior to the movie itself. However, the sponsors of the movie, Amen Estate, got their money’s worth as we continuously watched re-runs of their advert on the big screens. The “Light House” venue is one interesting place, who would’ve thought that vending machines in the UK would have chinchin, plantain chips, groundnut, name it – I am definitely a learner!
Jenifa (Funke Akindele) arrived amidst pomp and pageantry, it was beautiful to behold. Her opening speech once again was as honest as can be. You cannot help but love this woman! Immediately after the short and sweet welcome, the movie started. The crowd roared and sang along to the opening score! I could see the shock in the eyes of the few Caucasians in attendance. Yes I thought, go tell your friends we have arrived! Naija ati takeover (in Jenifa’s voice).
On a serious note, there was a lesson to be learnt from every scene of the movie. This is definitely the niche that Jenifa has created for herself. The movie had something for every age group, not surprised therefore that quite a number of grandma’s and children were in attendance. Even the scenes that could have been risqué, was tastefully shot so that it was very much a PG movie.
I liked the educational under-tone and I think the director did a fantastic job in bringing out the best in the actors. The movie introduced so many new talents and for once the foreigners in the movie did not just look like out of work actors. What makes the movie most exciting is that it captured a lot of the intricacies faced by immigrants. To a good extent the movie showcased the surrounds of the location. The story was realistic and relatable, not contrived at all – so it came as no surprise when I discovered her husband, the director, JJ Skillz, is a Londoner.
This movie had a good flow to it and ended definitely on a high. Obviously there is still room for improvement as her budget grows. Funke Akindele and her team did a fantastic job. I feel like I can attend more premieres after this one!