Nollywood film premieres ... in a plane

REACHING FOR THE STARS: Nigerian director Kunle Afolayan poses aboard the Air France flight in Lagos on Thursday. (AFP)
Updated 02 June 2016

Nollywood film premieres ... in a plane

ON BOARD AIR FRANCE FLIGHT 149: It had everything you’d find at a film premiere: The red carpet, the stars, the photographers and the celebrity interviews. But Nollywood film “The CEO” had something else — an Airbus A340-300.
The film, directed by Kunle Afolayan, got its first airing on Air France flight 149 from Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos to Paris Charles De Gaulle overnight Wednesday-Thursday.
It will also take top billing at the Nollywood Week film festival, which started on Thursday in the French capital and runs until Sunday showcasing the giant Nigerian cinema industry known as Nollywood.
Afolayan, who pulled up to the red carpet at departures in Lagos at the wheel of a saloon car, claimed the unusual premiere on the scheduled commercial flight as a first for world cinema.
“What is happening tonight, that has never happened before anywhere in the world. It’s going to be a premiere of a film in a plane,” he told AFP before take-off.
“We decided to come up with this initiative to show the world that Africans are innovative, Nigerians are special people.”
DJs played in the departures hall, cocktails and champagne flowed, while actors danced with ground staff. On board after the showing, the cast met passengers and posed for photographs in the aisles.
With a budget of more than $1 million and corporate sponsorship, “The CEO” is a far cry from the shoestring productions that characterize the bulk of Nollywood’s output.
The plot also moves away from typical themes addressing gritty social and cultural issues and revolves around the search across Africa for a new boss of a telecoms firm.
The financial backing of the airline allowed the film-makers to shoot on location in Kenya, South Africa and also in France while the cast reflects its appeal to all Africans.
Benin’s Grammy-award-winning singer Angelique Kidjo is the most well-known international face, alongside actors from Kenya and Ivory Coast to Morocco and Haiti.
Nollywood is the world’s second-biggest movie industry in terms of production, churning out on average 1,000 films a year.
Only the Indian film industry, including Hindi-language Bollywood, makes more, according to the nollywoodweek.com website promoting the Paris film festival.
Nollywood’s turnaround time can be extremely short — about seven to 10 days — and budgets as low as just $8,000 compared to Hollywood’s average of $67 million, it added.


Ancient cup given to 1st marathon victor returned to Greece

Updated 13 November 2019

Ancient cup given to 1st marathon victor returned to Greece

ATHENS, Greece: An ancient Greek cup awarded as a prize to the marathon winner in the first modern Olympics of 1896 has been returned to Athens from a German university.
Greece’s Culture Ministry says the 6th century B.C. pottery vessel was considered lost for decades until research in 2014 by archaeologist Giorgos Kavvadias identified it in the University of Muenster’s collections.
A ministry statement says it was proved “beyond any doubt” that the two-handled cup painted with ancient runners was the one given to Spiros Louis, the Greek marathon victor in 1896.
Following correspondence with Greek officials, the university agreed to return the cup, which was part of a private German collection it had bought in 1986.
The vessel was presented at a ceremony Wednesday at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.