Last year, Nigerian filmmaker Faraday Okoro competed amongst four other young, promising filmmakers and won the grant of $1 million to make a feature film that would have its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this year after they all pitched their movie to a jury whose members included Empire writer, Lee Daniels, Jeffrey Wright, and Avengers star, Anthony Mackie.
Faraday’s movie ‘Nigerian Prince’ explores the backstories of Nigerian email scammers. Not only is the plot of the film very relatable to Nigerians, but it’s also one of the few films to be written and directed by a filmmaker of Nigerian descent, starring a mostly Nigerian cast, with a production crew partly comprised of Nigerians distributed in the US theatrically by an American company. Second only to Genieve’s film ‘Lion Heart‘ bought by Netflix.
Nigerian Prince’s takes its inspiration from the long-running, infamous Nigerian letter scam (originally known as 419 – a number which refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud). In brief, the sender, who claims to be a government official or member of a royal family, requests assistance in transferring millions of dollars of excess money out of Nigeria and promises to pay the person a hefty percentage for his or her help. The message is always of an “urgent, private” nature.
The first winning film from the “AT&T Presents: Untold Stories” initiative, which is a multi-tier alliance between AT&T, Tribeca and the Tribeca Film Institute that supports underrepresented filmmakers has released the first trailer which shows a stubborn first generation Nigerian-American teenager named Eze is sent to Nigeria by his mother, against his will. While there, Eze opts to retaliate by teaming up with his cousin, Pius, a desperate “Nigerian Prince” scammer, to swindle unsuspecting foreigners in order to earn money for a return ticket back to the US.
Watch out for its US theatrical and on-demand release on October 19, via Vertical Entertainment.