Principal photography has begun on “Shijuwomi,” a film adaptation of author Rasheed Gbadamosi’s book, “Behold My Redeemer,” under the direction of award winning theatre/TV/film director and screenwriter, Niji Akanni (“Aramotu,” “Heroes and Zeroes”), who has been described as Nigeria’s own Akira Kurosawa.
Synopsis: A pampered girl, Shijuwomi, who has traveled to England to study, attempts suicide, prompting the decision to repatriate her home. At home, she is moved to an institution where she meets Dr. Ilori, a lecturer in Anthropology who eventually marries her. The marriage does not however provide the desired harmony and succor, as Shijuwomi and Ilori are on a parallel scale in terms of pursuing their interests, forcing her to make another suicidal attempt.
Described as intriguing and thrilling, “Shijuwomi” is said to be a metaphor for Nigeria as a nation state, and many African countries whose dreams of Utopia after freedom from colonial powers have all but evaporated, leaving behind hopelessness and frustration.
Starring in the film are Judith Audu as the titular Shijuwomi, veteran actors, Ayo Lijadu and Bimbo Manuel, and a host of other acting talent, including Femi Adebayo, Olu Okekanye, Tina Mba, Jude Chukwuka etc,.
With films like “Aramotu,” which won Best Feature Film at the Africa International Film Festival (AIFF) in 2011, “Heroes and Zeroes,” a 2012 film nominated in 6 categories at the 9th Africa Movie Academy Awards, winning awards for Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Editing and earning him an Official Selection in the video category at FESPACO 2013, director Akanni aims to deliver another award-winning work of cinema.
The book is being adapted for the screen by a trio of writers: Prof. Ola Rotimi, Dr. Femi Olugbile and Bayo Awala, a filmmaker in his own right, who directed the 2005 award winning political thriller, “Prince of the Savannah.”
“This project has been in the works for over two decades. I have always being fascinated with this story since I first directed it on stage in 1969. Its thematic relevance, the tempo-spatial canvass against which the narrative plays out and an opportunity to increase the volume of works adapted from our rich literary traditions are some of the reasons why we have decided to showcase this piece,” Awala said.
Author Rasheed Gbadamosi will serve as Executive Producer on the project. Gbadamosi is the author of many short stories and plays for radio, television and the theatre, including “Tree Grows in the Desert,” “Behold my Redeemer,” “Echoes from the Lagoon,” and “Sunset over Nairobi,” which won first prize in Radio Netherlands Golden Windmill short story competition.
“Shijuwomi” has received support from the Nigerian government’s Nollywood interventionist project; ProjectActNollywood’s Film Production Fund (FPF) and is being produced with the active collaboration of Ogun State Government.