“Why I Am Featuring Otedola’s Daughter in My New Movie,” Kunle Afolayan

Kunle Afolayan

Nigeria’s most celebrated filmmaker, Kunle Afolayan, has disclosed why he is featuring Temi, the last daughter of billionaire Femi Otedola, in his new movie, Citation. “Whenever I scroll through her social media pages, I used to wonder at how energetic and enterprising she is. Then, when I saw her on a CNN programme, her talent seeped through and I knew I would like to work with her. Here we are now,” Afolayan said at a media briefing in Lagos, Thursday, January 9.
The movie, which pre-production began last October in the Island country of Cape Verde, is written by Afolayan’s lifelong cinematic collaborator, Tunde Babalola.

Citation, Afolayan said, is a coming-of-age movie, which tells the story of Moremi Oluwa (Temi Otedola), a happy-go-lucky 21-year-old undergraduate. Harassed repeatedly by a smooth-talking university don, she drags him before the university senate and, thus, began a concatenation of events that would define her life.

In a clime where sexual harassment on campuses has become a topical issue, Afolayan said, “Citation will create awareness on the different forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private sphere. It will educate the society on women’s rights and the ways to enforce these rights for the achievement of equality and tranquillity.

“The movie will encourage and embolden women to stand up against mistreatment and abuse by a patriarchal society. It has also been designed to propel women to aspire to become successful leaders and thereby provide counterexamples to negative gender stereotypes.”

The project, Afolayan further disclosed, has already secured partnership deals with Ford Foundation, Canon Central, which will avail him the use of the new Canon EOS C500 Mark II camera – the first time the camera will be used in Africa; and Access Bank, through its W Initiative – Africa’s premier women’s financial programme focusing on inspiring, connecting and empowering women and girls. Other partners include Ajike Peoples’ Support Centre, a Non-Governmental Organisation and pet project of Mrs. Olufolake Ajike Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, First Lady of Kwara State; and online travel portal, Flyboku, for continental travel logistics.

It will be shot in Nigeria, Senegal and Cape Verde where Afolayan had also sealed production deals ahead of a proposed January 2020 shoot. He said that apart from its thematic premise, the movie will attempt to market Cape Verde to Nigerians and the rest of the world while also establishing film and cultural affinity between the two countries.

In a statement made available to the media months back, Cape Verde’s Culture and Creative Industries Minister, Abrãao Vicente, who led the government team that included the Director-General of Arts and Creative Industries, Adilson Lima Gomes and the Coordinator of Cultural Goods and Music, Luhena Correia, in negotiating the deal, stated that she believes that the collaboration will enhance a good relationship between Cape Verde and Nollywood.

23-year-old Temi is a fashion and travel blogger and last child of one of Africa’s wealthiest men. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in History of Art, from the University College, London, and owns JTO Fashion, a multimedia platform from which she expresses her adventures through the arenas of fashion, beauty, art, and travel. Responding to her new career, she said, “Words cannot express how excited I am to finally announce that I will be starring in ‘Citation’, legendary filmmaker Kunle Afolayan’s next feature film. Humbled to be shooting alongside legends of film in my on-screen debut.”

Temi will be starring in the movie alongside Joke Silva; Haitian-born Hollywood actor and model, Jimmy Jean-Louis; veteran broadcaster and actor, Sadiq Daba; actor and singer, Gabriel Afolayan; Ini Edo, Yomi Fash-Lanso; and Ghanaian actor, Adjetey Anang.