Gideon Okeke as Dr. Morris Ibeawuchi in ’93 Days
Nigerian movies are breaking the glass ceiling, with 93 Days leading the pack gaining acceptance at virtually every prestigious international festival. With Nigeria’s poor documentation of history and heroic feats, 93 Days (title of the movie on Ebola disease outbreak of 2014) saves the day with accurate representation of a particularly sad event in the country. Shot at multiple locations, 93 Days movie has brought a new angle to filmmaking in Nigeria, which is often dominated by comedy.
Beyond the accolades from both the media and the cinema audience, who have seen the movie, the image of Nigeria as a slow respondent to epidemic disease, outbreak has been re-branded.
In an interview, one of the Executive Producers, Mrs. Bolanle Austen-Peters, said, “We did the Ebola movie because we wanted to add value. I didn’t want to do just any movie. We told a story that needed to be told. I felt that if we did not tell that story, foreigners, as usual, could come and tell of the brave and courageous people who fought against the Ebola virus to save all of us. For me, it was very important that the story was documented for posterity.”
Notable festivals, where 93 Days was shown to sold-out audiences include Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Chicago International Film Festival, where it was the only Nigerian film to show there, and Los Angeles Pan African Film Festival and Johannesburg Rapid Lion Film Festival. It has just been selected to show at the prestigious American Film Institute (AFI).
On why they took a risk in shooting a movie on Ebola, when they could have made a strictly entertaining movie and make more money, Austin-Peters said, “It is very important that we document things. 93 Days is of educational and historical significance. That is why I feel in some ways we have added a lot of value.”
The movie director and co-producer, Steve Gukas expressed the readiness of the crew for a great movie even before the shooting started.
The movie has premiered in both African and international festival circuits, with loads of positive reviews from the audience. One of the ways to know a good film is by the quality of festivals it has shown or where it will show. This is so because reputable international festivals have stringent rules and standard, which the movie must meet. One of such is the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards, where it topped the list with 13 nominations even though most of the categories are voting categories, the producers are counting on the goodwill they got from most Nigerians at the cinemas to work in their favour again this time.
The movie got endorsement from two respected personalities, Hollywood actor, Danny Glover, who also starred in it and Nigeria’s most famous blogger, Linda Ikeji.
According to Glover, “93 Days symbolises the spirit of the Nigerian people and the vibrancy of the industry.”
Ikeji said 93 Days is the only Nollywood movie she had ever gone to the cinema to watch.
The story of 93 Days centres on the sacrifices made by men and women, who risked their lives to make sure the Ebola virus was contained before it became an epidemic, when it was imported into Nigeria by a Liberian American diplomat. 93 Days is also dedicated to Ameyo Adadevoh, a Nigerian physician who played a key role in the containment of Ebola in Nigeria.
93 Days is a production of three entertainment companies: Native FilmWorks, Michel Angelo Production and Bolanle Austen-Peters Production, and it stars Bimbo Akintola, Bimbo Manuel, Charles Okafor, Danny Glover, Gideon Okeke, Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey, Somkhele Idhalama, Tim Reid, Sola Oyebade, Charles Etubiebi, and Seun Kentebe.