The Black Book comes to Netflix
September 18, 2023
Anakle Films is set to release Nigeria’s biggest-budget independent film to date, The Black Book. The movie will debut on Netflix on September 22nd and features an ensemble cast of some of Africa’s most well-known actors, including Richard Mofe-Damijo, Alex Usifo, Sam Dede, Denola Grey, Shaffy Bello and Ireti Doyle.
The Black Book delves into a fictional narrative that explores the West African country’s conflicted history with military dictatorship, drug trafficking, and politics through a retired hitman’s journey to seek justice.
Directed by Editi Effiong, The Black Book details the fictional story of Paul Edima, a former military and drug cartel hitman in Nigeria who cemented his legend with a record of assassinations, coups, abductions and drug operations. After walking away to live a quiet life for 30 years, Edima is forced back to seek justice when his only son is killed by a gang of corrupt policemen.
Effiong commented: “Nigeria has a complicated but fascinating, violent and problematic past. These stories are integral to our history and have determined our present and immediate future. What we set out to do with The Black Book was to provide historical and cultural context and give a framework for why the country operates as it does now, but through a fictional, entertaining and stylised lens. Great storytelling is universal; it travels. This is an African story, but we know that the themes will resonate with people no matter their culture or background, as untold stories that lift the lid on conventional thinking or revisit challenging histories are popular with cinema audiences worldwide. Developing The Black Book and reimagining the Nigerian cinematic experience has been incredible; the Anakle production team has been blessed with world-class actors to bring this new Nigerian narrative to life, as well as the chance to incorporate some amazing sets and never-before-seen large-scale location shoots into the feature.”
The film production brought together professionals from 6 countries, including the USA, UK, Guadeloupe, South Africa and Nigeria, and was filmed with world-class audio visual technology used in Nigeria for the first time. Pre-production for The Black Book started in 2020, where the film’s lead characters underwent intense training with stunt and tactical trainers to help them achieve high-level skills in martial arts and the use of weaponry. Filmed over three months across multiple sites in Nigeria [many have never been used for film production], including the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Lagos’ Apapa Port and Old Railway Compound, Kaduna. The team also constructed huge sets and sound stages, not usually seen in Nigerian cinema, to achieve some stand-out scenes.
Anakle Films’ debut feature film, “Up North”, released in 2018, made Nigeria’s box office history, grossing over 50 million naira [$130,000+] in its first ten days of cinema release. It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Effiong concludes, “Nigerians are amazing storytellers – it’s core to who we are as a people. But as a culture, we have tended to distance ourselves, especially in the creative storytelling genre, from the harsher realities of what military rule and corruption did to our land in the 1970s and beyond. To be able to tell this story, and on such a scale, with a world-class cast and production team has been an epic experience, and I’m looking forward to The Black Book being received by movie fans around the world”.