Just released is the latest trailer for award-winning Nollywood director Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen’s anticipated period film Invasion 1897, about the invasion of the Benin Kingdom by the British in 1897, who then carted off indigenous art and artifacts which are still in museums around the world. Bearing the tagline, “The deposition of the last king of Africa,” Invasion 1897 follows Oba Ovonramen N’ogbaisi (1888-1897), the then-sitting Oba who died in exile in Calabar, where he was banished by the British following the invasion, and the film is dedicated to his memory.
Mike Omoriegbe stars in the film as Oba Ovonrawmen, and also features veteran Nigerian actors Segun Arinze, Charles Inojie, Nosa Ehimwen, Paul Obazele, Leo Mezie, Idiata Otiagbe and the late Justus Esiri in a cameo role. British actors Rudolph Walker, Charles “Chucky” Venn and Annika Álofti also co-star.
Invasion 1897 is billed as the most ambitious film to come out of Nigeria since its independence, taking more than four years to shoot and edit. Production took place in Benin City, Edo state as well as London, England, and used a cast of over 300 people, all with period costume and props.
The film has also been endorsed by the Benin monarch, Oba Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopolo Erediauwa I as well as the Crown Prince of Benin, Ambassador Eheneden Erediauwa.
Invasion 1897 will receive its world premiere at the Toronto African Film & Music Festival, which runs August 27 to 31, as the opening night film. It will also have a special VIP screening in London on September 13 alongside an exhibition of major Benin bronze artifacts, and a main U.K. premiere is scheduled for later that month. The film will have its U.S. premiere at a special event at the famous Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. on September 17, and make its Nollywood debut near the end of September.
For more information, check out the official Invasion 1897 site.