Prime Video’s Gangs Of Lagos premieres, set to revolutionise filmmaking
Streaming giant Prime Video, on Friday, finally premiered its much-awaited first Amazon Original Movie from Africa, titled Gangs of Lagos, adding that it is the first of many more to come.
Revealing a short teaser for the film at a media briefing just before its release, head of Middle East and African Originals, Prime Video, Ned Mitchell, said this is a watershed moment for Africa, filmaking and being a part of this moment was incredible for them.
“The ‘why’ for us is simple; we back creative visions behind visionary filmmakers who see things that we don’t see. Filmakers make us laugh and cry and viewers are going to experince all of that in this movie. It is a spectacle and the whole world is going to want to watch it.”
Head of Nigerian Originals, Prime Video, Wangi Mba-Uzoukwu said for them, it is always about authentic storytelling. “Gangs of Lagos is predominantly acted in Yoruba, a bit of Igbo and Pidgin language and we feel this is important, as we want our movies to reflect the languages we speak and positioning this local language film as a first original, is a testament to our culture and heritage. We want our stories to travel in our own language, the way we want to tell them and we must tell these stories in a way we want by ourselves and for ourselves in the way we prefer. Before now, local language movies were not considered to be of the highest quality but we want to change this narrative going forward.”
Mba-Uzoukwu added that with this, they hope that creatives who have dreams and stories would be inspired to come forward with them. “We are all about seeing how dreams can grow and it is very important to all of us. We want Nigerian stories to travel all over the world as much as possible and our main mandate is to find these talents and push them out. This is just the first of many, there are so many products in the pipeline that are going to stay true to this vision. I have always wanted to work with creatives like Jade and I am glad I now have the opportunity to do so.”
Revealing that Nigerians are a sophisticated people in terms of what they consume, she said in terms of the different genres, they intend to push the boundaries as much as possible. “We’re going to look at what our customers like and bring it to them. We intend to increase the variety of what Nigerians consume and for just N2,300, everyone has opportunity to do so when they sign up to Prime Video,” she said.
Director, producer and creator, Gangs of Lagos, Jade Osiberu, who also produced Brotherhood, Sugar Rush, Isoken and Gidi Up, said the idea for this movie came to her ten years ago while shooting Gidi-Up’s second season in Isale-Eko. “I asked myself, what it would feel like to be born into this life. Isale-Eko is very unique in the sense that it is very dense and highly populated while also being surrounded by a lot of wealth. I wanted to know what it felt like to be born there, to want to leave, to have dreams of a better life and struggle for that.”
“We see the characters starting out as children, Malik of the Ikorodu Boiz plays a young Tobi Bakare and we see him and his friends dreaming of a better life and the film seeks to explore if they realise these dreams or something else happens.”
Osiberu said the story is not inspired by anyone in particular but by the Lagos society and the idea of humanising ‘area boys,’ dealing with circumstances larger than them. “I hope everyone can relate to this.”
On deciding to work with Prime Video, Osiberu said from the very first meeting, she fell in love with the team. “There are so many brilliant and talented filmmakers in Nigeria, looking for an opportunity to tell their stories on a global scale and to meet people who understand this is rare but amazing.”
Mitchell revealed that the movie isn’t restricted to Nigerian viewers alone and would be seen around the world as people are craving stories from Nigeria. “We’re building a community for our customers, there is something for everyone at Prime Video. Later this year, we have not set an official date, but we are going to release, LOL (Last One Laughing) with Basketmouth and I think it is going to be a great hit. We just finished filming this with Trevor Noah, who is joining after seeing what we’re doing with talent and this is what we’re going to do with all originals to come. We put love into every single work we put out, working with our filmmakers from development through to post-production because every thing is important to us and we know our consumers are looking for the best. There are so many amazing contents from around the world that we want to make available to all our consumers because we know everyone has different tastes.”
Saying she has never been as excited in her career as she is now, Osiberu revealed that so many things are in store for consumers just as she intends to bring in andf work with other filmakers for the next three years.
Speaking with the media at the end of the briefing, some of the movie cast including Tobi Bakre, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Chike Osebuka, Chioma Chukwuka, Bimbo Ademoye, Ola Rotimi and Tayo Faniran, shared their experiences working on the movie, what the story means to them, what they want viewers to experience watching it and the impact they believe the movie would have not just on viewers alone but also on the Nigerian movie scene.