Launching the Nigerian film industry into an auspicious start for 2024 comes a thrilling revelation. Amid the first hours of the new year, acclaimed filmmaker and artistic polymath, C.J. Obasi, known affectionately as “Fiery” or “The Fiery One,” electrified social media with a momentous proclamation. The esteemed director, screenwriter, and executive producer shared his exhilaration about being selected as a resident for the 2024 Bellagio Center Residency Program by the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation.

Obasi, recognized for his notable contributions to Nigerian cinema, recently gained critical acclaim for his directorial prowess in the well-received film “Mami Wata”. His writing prowess has significantly impacted Nigerian cinema, with his credits including the script for “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free” and his involvement in the script of “Lion Heart”, among other notable works.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center Residency Program offers a unique opportunity for leaders across diverse fields, including academics, artists, policymakers, and practitioners, to delve into a specific project within a residential group setting over four intensive weeks. It serves as an unparalleled platform for cross-disciplinary collaboration and idea exchange among global thought leaders.

Expressing his excitement, Obasi detailed his project, “LA PYRAMIDE: A CELEBRATION OF DARK BODIES,” a venture likely to explore and celebrate facets related to dark-skinned individuals or bodies.

The program has a rich history of welcoming influential personalities, counting luminaries of the past century like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Maya Angelou, along with current trailblazers such as Nikole Hannah-Jones and Akin Omotoso among its alumni. These individuals have contributed groundbreaking ideas and works of art that resonate with pressing global and social issues.

Obasi’s inclusion in this prestigious residency not only solidifies his position as a visionary filmmaker but also underscores his commitment to advancing innovative projects that contribute to positive societal impact.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s forthcoming application cycle, scheduled to commence in early February, will seek leaders passionate about creating sustainable and universal opportunities, with an eye for catalyzing change at local, national, or global levels.

As Obasi embarks on this exciting chapter, the Nigerian filmmaking community and enthusiasts await eagerly, anticipating the creative fruits that will stem from this prestigious residency.

C.J. Obasi enters the milieu of The Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, joining a space dedicated to cultivating diverse ideas, championing equity and inclusion, and fostering an atmosphere ripe for transformative thinking. Here, he is poised to further elevate his creative endeavors, contributing to the advancement of Nigerian and global cinema.

By Shalom O. Obisesan

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