Genevieve Nnaji, a Nigerian filmmaker, says she decided to explore movie directing from being an actress because she was ready to become a storyteller.


In an interview with ESSENCE, Nnaji said featuring in ‘Lionheart’ as an actress and directing the movie was difficult.

“I believe the right story and intent called for it. I was ready to become a storyteller beyond portraying a singular character. The only way to fully share the vision I had was getting behind the camera lens, and I look forward to sharing more,” the 39-year-old actress said.

“I was most worried about being in two places at once. As an actor, you get on set at your call time and leave when you wrap your shoot for the day. As a director, you are first in and last out.


“I had to stay up long enough to go through the rushes of the day as well as plan out the scenes for next day’s shoot. It was difficult and very challenging, but with sheer determination and tenacity, as well as a very efficient crew, Lionheart was made.”

Speaking about the inspiration behind ‘Lionheart’, she said: “Lionheart stemmed from my desire and hunger to shed light and to speak the truth of what it’s like to be a young [woman] trying to make it in a world that is dominated by men.

“That being said, it was equally important to me that the movie was light-hearted and warm, so the environment in which it was told was crucial as well.”


‘Lionheart’ is the first original Nigerian film to be acquired by Netflix.

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