Mo Abudu’s The Royal Hibiscus Hotel takes Nigeria to Toronto

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The romantic comedy by Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Film, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, is the reason why Nigeria’s flag would be flying when this year’s edition of the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) opens next month in Toronto, Canada.

Directed by Ishaya Bako, best known for his effort in The Road to Yesterday, starring Genevieve Nnaji, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is the only Nigerian movie and one of the three African features in the Contemporary World Cinema category of the festival.

The contemporary world cinema is a significant section of the festival that spotlights 48 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. The cast of the movie includes Zainab Balogun, Kenneth Okolie, Deyemi Okanlawon and O. C. Ukeje.

Producer of the movie, Mo Abudu, thrilled about the upcoming premiere at TIFF and the prospects of the outing for the larger Nollywood industry, said: “The movie has been a passion project for me. It has provided yet another 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.”

This is the second time an EbonyLife Film would be chosen for TIFF. The first was last year, when the blockbuster, The Wedding Party, featured as part of the City-to-City section of the festival.

However, the TIFF premiere of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is certainly good news for filmmakers in Nigeria and the continen.

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