Nigerian film Lizard has won the grand jury prize for short film at this year’s virtual version of the largest independent film festival in the US, the Sundance Film Festival.
The movie, which was directed by Nigerian filmmaker Akinola Davies and shot in Lagos, follows an eight-year-old girl who gets thrown out of Sunday school for her unusual ability to sense danger.
She goes on a bizarre and perilous journey as her curiosity leads her to follow a lizard and unwittingly witnesses the dark side of life in and around a church in Lagos, Nigeria.
The 15-minute short was co-written by Akinola and his brother Wale Davies, and stars child actor Pamilerin Ayodeji alongside Osayi Uzamere, Charles Etubiebi and Rita Edward. The production partners are London-based Potboiler Productions and BBC Films.
Announcing his win on Instagram, Davies said: “Literally a year to this day we started on a project conceived from a bunch of my childhood memories. Today I’m so grateful to @Sundanceorg for awarding Lizard the Grand Jury prize for shorts. I’m overwhelmed and as much as I’d love to gloat, filmmaking is really crazy hard. Big love to all those who were part of the shorts programme – it’s an honour to be amongst such brilliant films.
“I have to say this award is really for the whole cast and crew who worked so hard and committed their all to this little film pre- and during a global pandemic. I’m so proud this was made in Lagos by the many hands that make up the beautiful people of Nigeria.”
Lizard was Nigeria’s only Sundance 2021 submission.