Lizard’, Nigeria’s only submission for the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, has been awarded the ‘Short Film Grand Jury Prize’. 


The short film which was co-written by Akinola Davies, a Nigerian filmmaker and Wale, his brother, had its world premiere at the festival, which held at Park City, Utah from January 29 to February 3.

The award ceremony, which had 73 feature-length and 50 short films selected from more than 14,000 submissions, was showcased online via the festival’s custom-built online platform.

In a statement on Wednesday, Keri Putnam, CEO of Sundance Institute, expressed her excitement about the success of the ceremony.


“This has been a singular Festival for a singular moment. We’ve been able to elevate independent art and celebrate a wonderful slate of films by gathering in new ways, ways that worked thanks to adventurous audiences everywhere, eager to connect and engage with the work and with one another,” she said.

“Watching people come together to connect and discuss exciting new work has been incredibly rewarding – and a resounding confirmation that great independent storytelling inspires rich conversation.”

On his part, Davies expressed his gratitude to fans, cast, and crew members for their support, dedication and encouragement in ensuring the success of the film.


“Literally a year to this day we started on a project conceived from a bunch of my childhood memories. Today I’m so grateful to @sundanceorg for awarding Lizard the Grand Jury prize for shorts. I’m overwhelmed and as much as I’d love to gloat, filmmaking is really crazy hard,” he wrote.

“Big love to all those who were part of the shorts program – it’s an honour to be amongst such brilliant films. I have to say this award is really for the whole cast and crew who worked so hard and committed their all to this little film pre and during a global pandemic.

“I’m so proud this was made in Lagos by the many hands that make up the beautiful people of Nigeria. I hope it serves anyone reading this who has a dream to commit to that dream however farfetch did it seems.

“And lastly but not least all those who watched the film – sent messages, emails, calls – those who read the script and gave feedback – on behalf of the whole film – thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”



‘Lizard’ tells the story of an eight-year-old girl who gets ejected from Sunday school service for her unusual ability to sense danger.

The film which had its setting in Lagos in the 90s, features Pamilerin Ayodeji, a child actor, alongside Osayi Uzamere, Charles Etubiebi and Rita Edward.

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