Clad in slick, maroon and golden-yellow Angelina fabric, David Oyelowo is pretty hype that the City to City: Lagos opening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is like one big long-lost Nigerian family reunion.
“This is the first time, in so long, I’ve been in a room with people who can say my name properly,” he says to the audience. “So I stand before you today as DAVID OYETOKUNBO OYELOWO.”
The City to City spotlight seeks to bring international cities to Toronto audiences. All eyes will be on eight films coming out of Nigeria’s cultural capital during this year’s TIFF—as they should be. Nollywood has been a mainstay for Nigerian film, and festival goers (and the world) will have the opportunity to see a sampling of impressive work from the $3.3 billion film industry.
“I have no doubt that this is the start of something absolutely fantastic for us, because we’ve been doing this for a long time—telling stories traditionally, filmically, poetically. We are storytellers by nature,” he continues.
In the clip below, you will see just that as Oyelowo weaves in impersonations of his father lamenting how people butcher his last name, how our parents give us that side-eye when we tell them we want to get into acting and how his experience living in Nigeria as a child and his Nigerian heritage shaped him to take his career with the utmost confidence.