Once again, Nollywood meets Hollywood in a soon-to-be-released movie titled “Dr. Bello”.
On April 21st, 2012, the iconic Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel, Lagos, hosted a press conference to announce Doctor Bello, the unprecedented cross-continental blockbuster film starring Isaiah Washington, Vivica A. Fox, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Bern Cohen, Genevieve Nnaji, Stephanie Okereke and many more to constitute a stellar cast. Written and directed by award-winning producer Tony Abulu, the film’s synopsis captivatingly states,
“The Cure for Cancer has been found in the sky mountains of Africa, and an American Oncologist will risk everything to get it.”
The transcontinental movie is also the first beneficiary of the $200m intervention fund for Nollywood promised by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2010. The Managing Director of Nexim Bank, administrators of the fund, Roberts Orya, says,
“I am delighted to announce the inauguration of the production of Dr. Bello. It is also symbolically the inauguration of NEXIM’s support for film production, with Black Ivory Ltd. being the first beneficiary client to avail a facility for film production under the bank’s creative arts and entertainment facility.”
The movie tells a story of a Brilliant cancer specialist Dr. Michael Durant who is emotionally troubled and wrestling with the traumatic loss of his 10year old daughter from cancer. Immersing himself in his work from the hospital, away from his wife who blames him for their child’s death, he forms an unlikely bond with a sick, loving, but rambunctious seven year old boy Sam, the son of a rich Jewish couple who are major contributors to the hospital’s cancer research fund.
Unfortunately, Sam’s health deteriorates drastically, and soon, he slips into a coma, with only a few days to live. Dr. Durant becomes desperate, willing to risk anything to save the child’s life. A surreptitious Nigerian Nurse convinces him to seek the help of Dr. Bello, an uncertifiedNigerian Doctor, known in Brooklyn-African underground as a miracle worker.
Dr. Bello, an introvert with a controversial past, secretly visits the child at night and administers a strange African potion, replete with incantations and by the next morning, miraculously, the child begins to recover, the cancer speeding into remission.
The hospital medical board immediately orders an investigation and soon the secret is revealed and Dr. Durant is suspended. Dr. Bello is arrested and charged with medical malpractices. Dr. Durant soon falls into depression after his wife leaves him. Meanwhile, Dr. Bello has fallen critically I’ll in jail and can only be saved by the ingestion of that same potion that can only be found in the mysterious “garden of life” nestled on the peak of Nigeria”s sky mountains.
Scheduled for release later this year, Doctor Bello is positioned to showcase Nollywood’s cross-marketability within the international spectrum as the first movie project financed in part by the recently established Nigerian Intervention Fund for the arts and entertainment industry administered by NEXIM Bank.
“I would like to thank His Excellency President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for recognizing the contribution of the Nigerian entertainment industry in general and the Nigerian film industry Nollywood. His vision of making Nigeria the entertainment hub of Africa is being actualized by Nigeria’s first ever Entertainment Intervention Fund financed film project Doctor Bello” says Film maker and chief executive officer of Black Ivory Ltd, Tony Abulu.
“Many distinguished and internationally-recognised Nigerian artistes living in the Diaspora have teamed up with great indigenous artistes to produce what is billed to be Nigeria’s foray into the international community. With what we are witnessing today, I can assure you that Nollywood is about to fly. We cannot continue to depend on our oil revenue. We have to begin to make products ourselves and we have to begin to package it for the international market, and those stories must be of an international standard.” he added.
Haitian-American actor, Jean-Louis, who plays the role of a Nigerian medical doctor in the movie, Phat Girls, says, “Here I am again in Nigeria. This is the third movie I will be doing as a Nigerian and it is the second time I will be playing a medical doctor. I think I have been adopted somehow to my new country. I am very happy to be playing the role of Dr Bello. I am looking forward to mixing with Nollywood. People in America don’t understand how such a feat as the second largest movie producers in the world is achieved in Nigeria but it tells them that things are changing. I think it is up to us now to take it to the next level and I am happy to be a part of that project.”