A taxi driver in Canada is on a path of vengeance against those responsible for her son’s death.
The Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) has announced Orah, a crime thriller by Nigerian-Canadian filmmaker, Lonzo Nzekwe, as the opening gala night film of its 12th edition in November 2023.
The film is a story of a taxi driver in Canada on a path of vengeance against a Nigerian drug-trafficking ring responsible for her son’s death.
Written and directed by Nzekwe, Orah was developed over the course of 11 years and fully became a revenge thriller after his brother died from the stray bullet of an officer of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), now defunct, in 2016.
“I had to travel to Nigeria to get to the root of how my brother was killed. That’s when the rage I had inside, and the pain I saw on my mother’s face led to revenge thoughts, to getting my pound of flesh. I realised the only way to deal with that was to channel it through a film, and I poured everything into my script,” the Anchor Baby director said.
Nzekwe said he set out to create a tragically gripping crime thriller that gives the audience an authentic experience into the life of its main character and her campaign of vengeance.
His work will unfold before invited guests at AFRIFF’s opening gala night on November 5, a festival whose founder and director, Chioma Ude, has promised will platform indigenous projects.
She noted during the announcement of Orah as opening film on Thursday, October 26 that its pick is strategic for the festival’s vision.
“Filmmaking is evolving rapidly in Africa with Nigeria at the forefront of the renaissance and this year’s edition is designed to continue to reiterate the opportunities for African films and storytelling to reflect ‘global’ perspectives for the sustained success of more local films globally.
“We intend to continue to empower our storytellers to explore ideologies and techniques that connect with the larger global audience. Orah is positioned as the opening night film to drive this expectation,” she said.
Oyin Oladejo plays the titular Orah and is supported by Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama, O.C. Ukeje, Emeka Nwagbaraocha, Lucky Onyekachi Ejim, Agape Mngomezulu, Morgan Bedard, Oris Erhuero, Femi Lawson, and Christopher Seivright.
The film was shot in Canada and Nigeria in late 2022 and screened at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.
It was produced by Circle Blue Entertainment and Freddie Films in association with IronFlix Inc., with the participation of Telefilm Canada, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), and ONCreates Film Fund; and Level Film as the Canadian distributor.