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Nollywood premieres gripping movie, "Last flight to Abuja"

posted 6 Aug 2012, 12:54 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 6 Aug 2012, 12:55 ]

Last Flight to Abuja is a powerful African thriller based on terrifying real events surrounding an air disaster. A group of people, all with their own stories and reasons for traveling, make their way to an airport in Lagos to board a flight to Abuja but end up staring death in the face.

Film fans flocked to the premiere of the "Last flight to Abuja" in Nigeria's commercial city of Lagos this past weekend to watch the highly anticipated film, which has been dubbed by critics as a "powerful African thriller".
Inspired by real life events that unravels twists and turns that put a group of Nigerian travelers on-board a plane teetering on the brink of disaster at 30,000 feet, after the plane started experiences technical problemes mid air.

Caught up in a nightmare scenario, all the passengers pray as the final moments of their lives approaches.

Originally inspired by the tragic events of aircrash disasters that rocked Nigeria in 2005 and 2006 and more recently with the Dana Airlines plane crash in June 2012, that resulted in the loss of more than 160 lives, the release of "Last flight to Abuja" is even more poignant.

"It was dedicated to victims of the Dana crash, it was timely in the sense that the conversation about the safety in the industry, the procedures that need to happen when there is such a disaster, it's now kind of on the table and this film is just something that gives more opportunity to talk about the challenges in the industry," said Nollywood actress Celine Loader, who featured in the movie as a co-pilot.

Air crashes are not uncommon in Nigeria, Africa's second biggest economy, which has had a poor airliner safety record, although it had been improving.

The Dana crash in June was the first major disaster for six years.

The film director and producer, Obi Emelonye hopes it will raise awareness on the need for increased aviation safety in Nigeria.

"It is a gentle reminder that we should not forget some of the lapses, some of the technical failures that always lead to these crashes eventually because you have narrow escapes, and narrow escapes and narrow escapes, until eventually, a disaster comes along and it's simply to put it on the public consciousness, put it on the public agenda so that we don't just sweep it under the carpet like we've done over the years and nothing has changed and we go on as per usual, " he said.

The movie which took five years to complete, was also a hit with Nigerian fans.

Ifedayo Olarinde, a radio presenter in Lagos was excited at the direction Nigeria's film industry is taking.

"I'm happy because we're doing it, it's gonna happen, Nigeria's going on the technical part and that's like really amazing," he said.

Emenlonye who invested over 50 million Naira (307,844 USD) to make the film has said he will donate 10 percent of the profit from the movie to families of the victims of the Dana plane crash.

His last film, "The Mirror Boy", set a new standard in African international cinema, as the first African film to premiere at the world famous Empire Cinema, Leicester square, in London.