In a dazzling display of elegance, the City Mall in Lagos played host to entertainment industry giants and distinguished guests for the premiere of the much-anticipated Nollywood family-friendly movie, Praise Party. The star-studded event marked the public unveiling of the debut cinematic endeavor by ace television actress Anuli Ajagu, the CEO of Brampton Production and RevAnuli Inc.
The executive producer herself, Anuli Ajagu, expressed her elation while addressing the audience, saying, “I feel amazing. I am very grateful to God; this is a dream come true. It was an exciting experience producing ‘Praise Party’, my debut as a film producer and also an executive producer; It was also challenging combining multiple roles.”
Her journey into filmmaking was not without challenges, as she shared the inspiration behind the script, rooted in personal struggles and the realisation that time is precious. “The script was inspired by life happenings. Specifically, I had a major family crisis in 2017 and then in 2021, my only sister passed away as a result of terminal cancer. Unfortunately, it got me thinking about the fact that we do not have all the time in the world to fulfill our dreams,” Ajagu said.
“I have wanted to make movies for about 30 years now. So, I decided to pick up the broken pieces of my life, trusting God; and here we are today with a movie called Praise Party,” she continued. “Despite all the challenges that all the different characters went through, it all ended in praise, which is really exciting. It is a storyline that gives hope in the midst of a crisis.”
The movie, set in Nigeria, weaves a narrative that emphasizes the importance of community, seeking professional help, and the therapeutic nature of taking responsibility, counseling, faith, courage, and forgiveness. An impressive cast, including Kunle Remi, Keppy Ekpenyong, and others, brings the story to life.
Sola Fosudo, a professor at Lagos State University and cast member, attested to Ajagu’s creative prowess, stating, “I know her as a very creative person; a very deep thinker. I am sure she is going to succeed as a producer.”
Kunle Remi, who played the role of Tobe Thompson, commended the movie for addressing important societal issues, particularly emotional abuse and trauma. “This is a very good way to create awareness for conversations such as emotional abuse and trauma,” Remi said in an interview. “Thankfully, this film portrays all of that which is the reason why everyone should go see it. There is so much to learn from it. The movie also emphasises forgiveness which unlocks a lot of things. It could even be your test, you know, to open new doors in your life.”
Remi continued, saying “It is a faith-based kind of story. I saw so much loaded in the script from the first time I set eyes on it. Those are the kind of scripts we crave as actors. Sometimes, we want to be able to tell good stories that affect us all positively and this is one of them. So when I got the script, I was like ‘yes, this is it’. “Standing up against emotional abuse requires having the ability to understand and identify it; and the Praise Party gives that understanding needed to rise up against the menace.“
Also, Arinze Okonkwo, portraying the character Lotana, expressed pride in being part of the film, highlighting the lessons of patience and self-discovery that Praise Party imparts. The movie, a blend of drama and psychological thriller, promises a thought-provoking and breathtaking cinematic experience.
Nigerian-Canadian Anuli Ajagu, the visionary behind Brampton Productions and RevAnuli Inc., is poised to make a lasting impact on the Nigerian movie scene with ‘Praise Party.’ The film, scheduled for nationwide release on November 10th, showcases a stellar cast and delves into the intricate dynamics of mental and emotional trauma.
Synopsis of Praise Party: Unveiling the layers of trauma and redemption
Praise Party intricately explores the complex dynamics of Tobe Thompson’s narcissistic behavior towards his wife, Zara Thompson, shedding light on the influence of unresolved childhood trauma, privilege, and injustice. Zara, portrayed by the talented cast, endures extreme emotional abuse and social stigma resulting from marital breakdown and infertility.
The movie addresses real-life issues prevalent in many African families, providing a platform to discuss topics often overlooked. Through a captivating narrative, Praise Party aims to offer a thought-provoking and breathtaking cinematic experience, combining drama and psychological thriller elements.
Accolades and International recognition
Praise Party has already garnered international accolades ahead of its cinematic release. The film secured the coveted ‘Best International Film’ award at the prestigious Charlotte Black Film Festival in North Carolina. Anuli Ajagu, the driving force behind the project, received the ‘Best Producer’ award at the Canada China International Film Festival (CCIFF) closing gala.
Anuli Ajagu’s journey in the entertainment industry dates back to the 1990s, where she captivated audiences with her role in the hit soap opera “Fortunes.” Despite a hiatus, she continued to contribute to the creative arts through writing, stage productions, and social initiatives.
Now, in her 50s, Ajagu has reignited her passion for filmmaking, overcoming challenges and realizing a dream three decades in the making. As Praise Party prepares for its theatrical release in Canada and the United States, Anuli Ajagu’s story serves as an inspiration, proving that dreams can be pursued at any stage in life.