Four years after, EbonyLife celebrates with film festival

Guests and staff join Ebonylife TV boss Mo Abudu (3rd left) to cut the anniversary cake

With the level of publicity and media hype that preceded the celebration, it was obvious that fun loving Lagosians were in for a blast. And as expected, the fourth anniversary of EbonyLife TV, which also featured it’s maiden TV& Film Festival, bubbled; it was gathering of who is who in the showbiz industry.

As at 6pm, guests had started arriving the Filmhouse IMAX, Lekki, Lagos, venue of the event that lasted into the early hours of the following day. One by one, group by group, they strolled into the venue in their classy outfits that got tongues wagging. Before long, the red carpet session was full with celebrities and stakeholders, who joined in the special anniversary cocktail.

Notwithstanding the very impressive turnout that cause vehicular traffic on the road leading to IMAX and adjourning streets, VIP guests got special treatment; they had a designated lounge where the chilled till the movies started screening.

The free TV & Film festival featured the series premiere of Fifty, second season debuts of shows such as Sons of the Caliphate, On the Real and screenings of its record-breaking movies, Fifty and The Wedding Party. It was a well-attended event with fans, cast of the screened shows and movies, as well as other celebrities showing up to enjoy the screenings and celebrate the channel’s fourth anniversary.

However, highpoint of the evening was the premiere of the Fifty series, a spin-off from the 2015 hit movie, starring the original lead actresses, Ireti Doyle, Dakore Egbuson-Akande and Omoni Oboli, with Keira Hewatch, Wale Ojo, Kachi Nnochiri, Timini Egbuson and Chris Attoh completing the star lineup.

Set in the ever-bustling and vibrant megacity of Lagos, Fifty series follows the lives of four women (Tola, Elizabeth, Kate and Maria), who are forced to take mid-life inventories, as ambition and betrayal threaten their relationships.

Tola is a reality TV star whose marriage falls apart, thanks to an unpleasant family secret. Elizabeth on the other hand is an accomplished and celebrated obstetrician whose proclivity for younger men causes a strained relationship with her daughter. Maria’s affair with a married man results in an unexpected pregnancy, while Kate battles with a life-threatening illness, which plunges her into religious obsession.

Though not an evening of long speeches, the CEO and founder of EbonyLife TV Mo Abudu got time to thank individuals and groups, who played vital role in the four-year journey of the company. She particularly took time to call out staff members and associates of the company for their efforts and contributions in building the EbonyLife brand.

“This festival is a way for us to celebrate with and stay connected to everyone who has been part of the EbonyLife story. We are so grateful for the support we have received over the years and we are happy to celebrate with you,” she said.

There was a ‘lit’ after-party with DJ Neptune and the cake cutting, complete with a colourful confetti shower.

Since 2013, the channel has created over 4,000 hours of quality, original content and the festival was an opportunity to show appreciation to everyone who has been part of the EbonyLife TV story for the last four years. It also provided a platform to remind supporters and partners of the channel’s vision of telling unique and beautiful African stories – made in Nigeria, for the world.

Meanwhile, after a couple of weeks of shooting in Dubai, The Wedding Party 2, is now in post-production, with many weeks ahead of editing footage, sound and special effects, before the film can be screened at its first festival.

The cast and crew worked amidst jaw-dropping scenery and spectacular venues, thanks to Dubai Tourism and a host of local partners. By all accounts, the movie will be a visual treat. The director, Niyi Akinmolayan, enjoyed shooting in Dubai and is excited about the next stage.

“It has been a remarkable opportunity to film in Dubai; it was magical and the team was awesome. We are thrilled to create something special for viewers and we are sure that they will be impressed with the movie,” he said.

Executive Producer for EbonyLife Films Mo Abudu was also delighted about the production. “We had a really tough schedule, but we are happy to be moving to the next phase. We are really grateful for the support we received from Dubai Tourism and everyone else in the destination that worked so hard to make it possible. We collaborated with some remarkable partners who treated us warmly and were extremely professional,” she said.

After long days on the set, both cast and crew were able to unwind at fascinating attractions, such as IMG Worlds of Adventure, Dubai Mall and desert-based restaurant Qasr Al Sultan, before retiring to sumptuous accommodations at Atlantis The Palm, Palazzo Versace, Armani and Ghaya Grand hotels, some of which were featured in the production.

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EbonylifeMo Abudu
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