Genna Chanelle Hayes. 

Genna Chanelle Hayes’ debut feature Akoni will begin shooting in Sydney January 2, before heading to Nigeria.

Hayes will also star in the film, which follows the story of a Nigerian refugee who survives an attack by terrorist group Boko Haram before making his way to Australia.

The cast will be led by West End star Kit Esuruoso, alongside John Brumpton (Pawno, Catching Milat), Mal Kennard (The Defector, The Menkoff Method), Pippa Grandison, Rashidi Edward and Simon Elrahi.

Hayes is known for her recent short Wurinyan, which screened at Cannes Film Festival earlier this year and stars Christine Anu and Mark Coles Smith.

The writer-director said she hopes Akoni will serve as a tool for positive growth within Australian society.

“The displacement of people around the world is causing boundaries to blur and cultures to converge, and it’s important for us all to have an understanding of the reasons that are driving such change – so we can all move forward together in peace.”

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1 Comment

  1. Stop perpetuating the myth that screening at Cannes Film, Corner is like screening at the festival. It’s not. I feel like this is the 80th IF article to buy into the filmmaker-driven hyperbole that a Cannes Short Film Corner screening is akin to screening in the Director’s Fortnight Shorts or the main shorts program competition. It’s nothing similar. There is no artistic merit, curatorial judgement or selection involved.

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