The short film looks at what could have been the last encounter between Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna and the Leader of Biafra, General Odumegwu Ojukwu.
“The Encounter” is set to bring to light some historical elements many Nigerians have long forgotten and some many Nigerians are completely unaware of.
The film is a historical fiction drama that explores the Nigerian civil war through a series of encounters between Leader of Biafra, General Odumegwu Ojukwu played by George Ojefua and Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna played by Amarachukwu Onoh.
The film directed by Tolu Ajayi is an adaptation of a short story with the same title by historian, Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema.
“We want to tell African stories about history to sort of empower Africans”, Ajayi said at a press conference in Lagos today about his motivation to bring this film to life.
Set in 1967, Ifeajuna a once celebrated hero of Nigeria is now seen as a traitor and held as a prisoner of war. The film follows what perhaps was his last meeting with the Biafran Commander-in-Chief.
Onyema who is the author of the story said he wrote this story to humanize the events of that era.
“There comes a time when history and fiction has to be merged and that was what I did when I produced this short story”, he said.
The main character of “The Encounter” Emmanuel Ifeajuna is based on the real-life character. He was once a celebrated sports man who became an educationist and eventually a military man.
“Emmanuel Ifeajuna had the distinctive honour of being the first Nigerian . . . the first African to win a gold medal at the Common Wealth Games in 1954”, Onyema shared.
Ifeajuna was one of the plotters of the 1966 coup d’état in Nigeria. Following this he fled the country and eventually returned to be part of the Biafra army. Not long after, Ojukwu sentenced him to death for treason. On September 25, 1967, he was killed by a firing squad.
The film producer Ekene Mekwunye shared that the project by Trino Studios took almost a year to produce after they bought the rights of the story. He also revealed that the production costs estimated over seven million Naira.
With regards to the Biafra protests currently on going, Ajayi was quick to add that “God forbid” they would milk the situation on ground and said it was a coincidence that their film came out around this time. Mekwunye suggested that perhaps this film could educate viewers about some facts from that era.
The moving picture made its onscreen debut at the 2015 Africa International Film Festival in November, 2015.
Watch “The Encounter” trailer below: