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Damson Idris will appear alongside Genevieve Nnaji in a new film written and directed by the award-winning, British Nigerian actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. The film is called Farming, and it will be Adewale’s first release as a writer and a director. The storyline of Farming is based on the true life story of Adewale as a young, black man in Tilbury, England. The background and setting of Adewale’s story is amazing.

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was born to Nigerian immigrant parents studying in Britain in the 1980’s. At that time in Britain, migrant families with children they could not cope with would send their them to live with white families in Britain. The practice was commonly referred to as ‘farming.’ Adewale’s parents gave him to a white family when he was six weeks old.

Farming is set in 1980’s Britain. The main character is Eni. Eni’s parents are struggling students who cannot afford to keep him. They give him to a white woman at a very tender age and Eni grows up in her care, tormented and isolated in an environment that ridicules his dark skin. The intervention of a young, colored teacher later in his life helps him reconcile the past with the future. Damson Idris plays the part of Eni as a teenager, Kate Beckinsale plays the part of his white mother, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw is the kind teacher. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje appears in the film himself, as Eni’s father. Genevieve Nnaji is the heartbroken mother who must give her son to a strange woman. 

There are similarities between Adewale’s childhood and Damson Idris’ life. Damson Idris is 28. He was born in 1991 to a single Nigerian mother. His mother was an immigrant in Britain. He grew as the youngest of six children in a terribly poor neighborhood in Peckham, but he was surrounded by family and friends. You may have never heard of Damson Idris, but he has appeared on the late night American TV show – Jimmy Kimmel Live!, as well as on Good Morning America. He has also appeared on an episode of the wildly successful TV series Black Mirror; he has worked with the legendary director John Singleton, and will be appearing in a new Netflix movie called Outside the Wire with Anthony Mackie (Avengers‘ Antman) which may come out in 2020. His popularity soared when he took on the lead role in the crime drama TV show Snowfall

Farming is a film that addresses the uncomfortable issues we don’t like to discuss. It tackles some shocking facts about immigration and poses some interesting questions about identity. An especially gripping scene appears in the trailer where a young Eni visits Nigeria for the first time and seems completely lost, overwhelmed, and confused. In real life, the director, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, visited Nigeria when he was 8 years old. At that time, he had been living with a white family since his birth. He returned to England with an identity crisis. 

According to Moses Babatope, Managing Director of FilmOne Studios, Farming is a film that can be important to Nigerian culture:

“We have so many stories that need to be told. Many, like Farming, have relevance beyond Africa and affect the history and culture of other countries where there is a Nigerian diaspora. We want to ensure that audiences in west Africa get to watch movies that shift the conversation around our impact on the world.”

FilmOne Studios, Accelerate TV and Stunt Group have collaborated to bring Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s film to Nigerian cinemas. Farming will be screening in Nigerian cinemas on the 25th of October.


The Guardian NG



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This article was first published on 21st October 2019


Tochi Onwubiko is a 'Jack' of many trades. A designer, book editor, lawyer and happy freelance writer. She enjoys drinking tea, sitting in quiet spaces, and reading thick books. She hopes to publish books one day. She also loves a good house party. If you know about any good books or parties, leave a comment on one of her posts.

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