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Amid Crisis, Ukrainian Producers Team Up w/ Nigerian Filmmakers In 1st Feature-Length Co-Production

Amid Crisis, Ukrainian Producers Team Up w/ Nigerian Filmmakers In 1st Feature-Length Co-Production

As the world’s attention focuses on the political wranglings in Ukraine, as tension between Russia and the United States mounts, a rare artistic collaboration between Ukraine and Nigeria is in the works, resulting in a feature film that’s worth some attention.

We first alerted you to the project almost 2 years ago – a feature thriller titled Feathered Dreams, which represents the first joint venture between Nigerian and Ukrainian filmmakers.

The plot, which is based on a true story and shot in both Nigeria and Ukraine, centers on a young Nigerian woman (played by Omoni Oboli) who, as the film’s website states:

… dreams of becoming a singer, which was the last wish of her father. However, when her father dies suddenly, she agrees to her mother’s wishes and leaves to study at the Ukrainian Medical University. The conflict between her dreams and her family dictates leads to a chain of dramatic events; from dropping out of school to a near death experience resulting from racial assaults by neo-Nazi fascists to homelessness and possible deportation.

We’ve reported on racial tensions, sometimes leading to fatalities, faced by Africans living in Ukraine and neighboring Russia, which the film promises to address in some fashion.

One of the producers of the film, Igor Maron, said the inspiration for the it came from a business trip he made to Abuja (Nigeria), where he was surprised to find so many Nigerians who spoke Russian and Ukrainian. As he stated: 

I was amazed at how many people there are in Nigeria who had studied in the Soviet Union. I was approached by multiple Nigerians who had nostalgia in their voices when they told me stories about their college days in Odesa, in Kyiv, in Ivano-Frankivsk etc. I thought it would be great to shoot a film about the life of foreigners in Ukraine.”

Indeed.

The film, which co-stars Ayila Yussaf, was co-produced by Nigerian producer Austeen Eboka as well as Philipp Rozhen, and was directed by his brother Andrey Rozhen, who’s well-known in Eastern Europe for his music videos for Ukrainian and Russian pop stars.

The screenplay was written by Andrey Rozhen with his father Alexander.

2 years since our first and last post on the project, just last week, our friends at Smart Monkey TV caught up with Andy Kozlov, who’s a Ukrainian consultant on the film, and interviewed him about the Nigerian-Ukrainian co-production, touching on how the production came together, as well as more on the story-line, and finally the film’s distribution prospects (it’s not out yet, and they are looking to 2015 to premiere it)

Watch the informative interview with Kozlov below, but first, here’s a trailer for Feathered Dreams:

And finally, here’s the Smart Monkey TV interview with Andy Kozlov.

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