By Juliet Ebirim
Movie lovers, practitioners and critics who graced the premiere of ‘Eagle Wings’ penultimate Sunday at Blue Pictures Cinema, Lagos will definitely agree that the blockbuster has set a record in the Nigerian movie industry.
The military-themed movie, a first of its kind in Nigeria, was produced and directed by Paul Apel Papel in partnership with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Investments Limited, an investment arm of the NAF.
Eagle Wings’ follows the story of an Air Force Fighter pilot who must navigate his way to safety amid an insurgency. It highlights the sacrifices of the military in combating insecurity and keeping the peace of the nation. The movie also explores the often tragic, yet thrilling mission in battling for life, peace, and freedom to love, in the face of great danger.
Speaking at the premiere, Papel recounted how the idea for the movie which he described as the biggest Nollywood-Military collaboration was borne “The defence headquarters sent for a meeting with Nollywood that they wanted us to put together a story of the military which has been negative prior, whereas these guys are going through a lot trying to secure the country.”
Continuing, he said “I had friends among the pilots, so it was easy for me to tell their stories. In this film, you will see why the insurgency is not giving up on the fight. Of course, if we give the military the kind of support they need, they will win.”
He added that the motion picture was shot on Arri film camera Open Gate 4444xq codec with Orion Anamorphic lenses. , “I now understand why American films look different from ours. The kind of instruments we used for this movie are sophisticated.“
Shot in Maiduguri, Kaduna and Abuja, and Kanji, Lapel revealed that about N145m was spent in producing the film. “The money is much more than that because there was another support we got that is not quantified.”
On his part, Nollywood actor Enyinna Nwigwe, who played the lead said the movie is a national treasure that tells the story of bravery, love and humanity.
“The kind of support we got from the Nigerian Air Force was mind-blowing, we filmed across different air force bases. I didn’t know they would be as supportive as they were. Giving us access to the equipment that we used, the fighter jets, automated rifles, and manpower… It was amazing, without missing or losing any sense of security in the process.
The movie based on true events, stars Femi Jacobs, Enyinna Nwigwe, Yakubu Mohammed, Keppy Ekpeyong, Francis Duru, Uzee Usman, Paul Apel Papel, Funky Mallam, Saeed Mohammed, Patience Ujah among others.
The late movie veteran, Sadiq Daba, also starred in the film, playing the role of the president of Nigeria.