Oxford Gardens, the latest film by award-winning director, Obi Emelonye has opened the year with a step of honour. This is as the film has made the official selection list of the 24th Pan African Film Festival billed to hold at the Rave Cinema in Los Angeles, California, USA from February 4 to February 15, 2016.
Set in London, Oxford Gardens is the story of a girl who was diagnosed of cancer and how she struck a bond of unforgettable memories with a retired boxer in a bid to satisfy her yearnings of having the best moments of her last hours on earth.
The film features Ngoli Okafor, a two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion in United States, Ngozi Thompson Igwebike, Savanah Roy, Iffy Chukwu, Princess Abiye, Frank Ani, Nnenna Ani and D'Richy Emelonye.
A joint production between Obi Emelonye’s company, The Nollywood Factory and Africa Magic, the movie is part of the Africa Magic Original Film, AMOF initiative.
The director-producer, who is renowned for championing causes with his themes in Nollywood, says he intends to be refreshingly different with Oxford Gardens. “I dig deep to explore stories that our young industry has ignored for some reason or another.In 2011, it was The Mirror Boy which attempted to see Africa through the eyes of a 12 year old London-born African boy. Last Flight to Abuja, a year later dealt with the glamorous world of aviation with its excitement, glitz and unfortunately, crashes. In all of these projects, I am seeking a new vista from which to see our common existence. In Oxford Gardens, I have attempted to tell a moving love story, wrapped in boxing gloves. Nigeria has produced great boxers, old and new. However, for some reason, Nollywood has ignored stories around boxing in spite of boxing's gritty nature that would lend itself easily to cinematography. Boxing films over the years have been hugely successful globally because they stir potent emotions in audiences, as the Rocky series and more recently Cinderalla Man and Southpaw have proved. Oxford Gardens is a film about boxing and not a boxing film. It takes some of the elements that make boxing films successful; sympathy for the underdog, blood, sweat, tears; and weaves them into a narrative that is an allegory for our broader fight for love, life and our place in the world.”