Nollywood on the big screen: filmmaker Obi Emelonye is taking Nigerian cinema to new heights.

Author:Dalby, Alexa

The waves are lapping in the background on a Lagos beach as Obi Emelonye wraps up the final scenes of the TV movie Lovestruck he is shooting for Africa Magic. He laughs. "I wish I was on holiday."

Life has been nonstop for Emelonye, one of Nollywood's leading directors, who shot to fame with his disaster movie, Last Flight to Abuja. Just a few weeks ago, he was in London hosting the premiere of his latest movie Thy Will Be Done at the cinema with Europe's largest screen, the British Film Institute's IMAX on the South Bank of the Thames. It was the first independent film ever to premiere at the venue.

Emelonye has cast himself as a trailblazer in Nigeria's film industry. One of his previous films, Mirror Boy, was premiered at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square, which typically hosts glittering Hollywood parties. That led to a cinema release in the UK, the first for a Nollywood film.

"We need to constantly try and punch above our weight," Emelonye says. "The idea of the premiere was punching above our weight--the profile of the place, the prestige, the attention it drew. This is not the best film ever made, it's not going to change the world, but we have an audience, it can be commercial. That is the argument."

The IMAX is famous for its giant curved screen, which gives an immersive experience for viewers. It was an appropriate venue for a film that includes dramatic aerial photography of Lagos.

"I was actually arrested when I was shooting that. I brought some aerial photography guys from the UK to shoot that. We were...

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