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Why Genevieve Nnaji’s movie, ‘Lionheart’, may not be shown in Nigerian cinemas

Genevieve Nnaji‘s globally acclaimed movie, ‘Lionheart’, may not be shown in Nigerian cinemas and this has left the actress distraught.

The actress revealed via Ugoma Adegoke, the CEO of Life House, that although getting to show her directorial debut to her fans have been giving her a mush feeling, unfortunately, not everyone shares her enthusiasm.

In a long and detailed post, Genevieve alleged that foremost Film distribution company, FIlmOne were behind her travails and was influencing other companies to boycott her work because they did not have a stake in the production of the film

Genevieve wrote, “Lionheart has been a big teaching moment for me as a filmmaker. It has surpassed my wildest dreams and expectations. Showing at film festivals across the world and getting acquired by Netflix has been surreal. Not to mention the many doors it has opened for me to further explore film and creativity in my truth as an African female filmmaker. And for all of these, I am grateful to God and to you all for your unwavering love and support. I have been truly blessed.
FilmOne, one of the major film cinema distributors, has categorically refused to distribute Lionheart, primarily because they have no stake in it. They are currently invested in a couple of movies showing in the cinemas and want to protect their assets at all cost. Monopolizing the market this season is their strategy to recouping their investment.
Silverbird agreed to exclusively exhibit Lionheart across their cinemas and that was good enough for me. Like I said, having you watch this movie was my primary objective, not making more money. I’m an artist who wants to display her work to the people the art was created for.
But, as soon as the announcement was made on Friday about the release, the “powers that be” of distribution and marketing were not having it. They proceeded to arm twist Silverbird cinemas to backing out of our agreement by threatening to boycott them in the future.
Unfortunately, the cinemas have refused to show Lionheart. Despite all my efforts, they remain insistent. I don’t own a cinema chain of my own so my hands are tied.
Lionheart will be waiting for you starting January 4th on Netflix. I hope you are as proud of it as I am.
As for the ‘powers that be’, this is not over. On the contrary, it is just the beginning. You are going to respect what I stand for which is art. You are going to respect where I came from which is Nollywood. You are going to learn to respect the talent. Period.”

Recall that global streaming giant, Netflix, purchased worldwide rights to Lionheart as its first original film from Nigeria. Also in September, Netflix invested $8 billion to create original productions in Nigeria’s Nollywood movie industry.

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