A bustling Nigerian city and by-the-books calm composure flesh out the world of AT&T’s Untold Stories grant recipient Faraday Okoro‘s debut feature Nigerian Prince. 

NYU grad Okoro made a name for himself running laps around the festival circuit with his noteworthy shorts “Blitz” and “Full-Windsor”, garnering acclaim and attention in Palm Springs, L.A. and Austin, among others. His shorts are so well-regarded, even, that a once hosting Tribecca awarded him a shoe-in spot to premiere his first feature—not to mention the million dollar grant they awarded him to make it. In 2016, we at MovieMaker spotlighted him as one of our annual 25 Screenwriters to Watch.

AT&T’s Untold Stories program is an initiative in partnership with the Tribecca Film Festival in order to create a space for underrepresented filmmakers. The contest consists of a script submission process, followed by a pitch if you are among five selected screenwriters. Nigerian Prince‘s premise: a coming-of-age heist thriller set in Lagos, Nigeria, in which Nigerian email scammers (also known as “princes”) Pius and Eze scam foreigners in order to acquire the funds to buy a plane ticket to America. Hot off a win from the inaugural competition, Okoro wasted no time establishing himself on set.

In the clip below, cast and crew praise Okoro’s craftsmanship and composure behind the scenes.

“The directors job really is to work with the actors, all the sets and different productions to ensure an optimum work flow. The biggest hurtle for Nigerian Prince was the cultural divide. It was a mostly Nigerian Crew with the addition of American crew members. The Nigerian Crew was much more accustomed to working faster with less equipment than the American crew, so there was a bit of a hurdle there.”
“[Working with Untold Stories], there was a lot more guidance and feedback to make sure I got it right,” says Okoro. “I had a year, where most indie films don’t have a set premiere and are filmed with however much time the project needs. I really had to make sure we hit all our marks, with script and preproduction and location scouting, post.”
On diving into a feature directorial debut, Okoro advises: “If you’re making your first film, make sure it’s something you enjoy. You go through a lot with financing and assembling a crew and finally production. So make sure it’s something you think is worth it.” MM

Nigerian Prince will premiere at Tribeca Film Festival 2018, which runs from April 18-29, 2018.