The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, a new movie from EbonyLife Films, is a charming romantic comedy that will be screened for the very first time at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2017.It is the only Nigerian movie and one of just three African features in the Contemporary World Cinema category, which spotlights forty-eight of the best new films worldwide.
Set in Lagos and London, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel tells the story of a passionate Nigerian chef, ‘Ope’,trying to follow her dream of opening a restaurant in London. Frustrated by her lack of progress, she returns to Nigeria and discovers that going home can have unexpected rewards.This is director Ishaya Bako’s second feature, following his debut, The Road to Yesterday.The cast includes Zainab Balogun, Kenneth Okolie, Deyemi Okanlawon and O.C.Ukeje,with veteran actors Rachel Oniga, Jide Kosoko, Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva, many of whom are expected to join the director in Toronto for the screening.
“The Royal Hibiscus Hotel has been a passion project for me – the chance to tell an intimate story that has heart and soul, and explores romantic love in the older and younger generations. The film addresses some of the challenges around communication in relationships, while managing to be funny, warm and entertaining. Many of us have forgotten what it feels like to fall in love – I hope The Royal Hibiscus Hotel re-ignites this feeling in us all,” said Mo Abudu, Executive Producer.
Receiving such a significant accolade is important because it identifies the movie as a quality title. It is the second time an EbonyLife Film has been chosen for TIFF, the world’s most important publicly attended film festival.The first was for the blockbuster, The Wedding Party, which went on to become the highest-grossing Nigerian movie of all time.
The TIFF premiere of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is good news for filmmakers in Nigeria and the continent – and provides further confirmation that positive African stories are attaining global recognition, which is indicative of improved scripting and higher production values.
The 2017 edition of The Toronto International Film Festival will take place from September 7-17.The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is scheduled for release in February 2018.