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Leading Lady

A young actress recounts her rapid rise in the movie industry while struggling with the pressures of fame.

Star actress Folake Coker just finished her first starring role opposite heartthrob Tolu Maximus in the soon to be blockbuster the historical musical epic Eze Nwanyi, directed and produced by top Nigerian filmmaker Sir Kingley Ofe. However, what would seem to be an opportunity of a lifetime turns out to be the scariest thing Folake could ever experience as she falls prey to her inner thoughts fueling raw anxiety, depression and paranoia. In neo-noir melancholy and episodic dreaminess, Folake’s world is in turmoil and she’s desperately looking for a way out before it’s too late.

Set in an all too familiar world of moviemaking, ‘Leading Lady’ takes us into the private moments of memory, pain and sacrifice.

  • Reuben Reng
  • Emil B. Hirai-Garuba
    Road to Yesterday
  • Bem Pever
    Color of Rage, Sons of the Caliphate
  • Emil B. Hirai-Garuba
  • Phoenix Ifeoma Ezendu
    Key Cast
    "Folake Coker"
    Dante's Fall
  • Mercy Balami
    Key Cast
    "Genevieve Nnadi"
  • Aisha Baba-Ahmed
    Key Cast
    Sons of the Caliphate
  • Emil B. Hirai-Garuba
    Key Cast
    "Sir Kingsley Ofe"
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    March 31, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    28 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    HD Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Reuben Reng

Reuben Reng is a young filmmaker from Plateau State, Nigeria. He graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 2012 with a degree in Communication and then enrolled in SAE Institute, Cape Town in 2014 to study digital filmmaking. After which he enrolled into Sheffield Hallem University, Sheffield UK in September 2016. After graduating with an MA in Filmmaking, he returned to Nigeria in 2018 to join the already booming Nigerian film industry dubbed Nollywood. Reuben hit the ground running as 2nd Assistant Director on season 2 of SONS OF THE CALIPHATE, a hit Northern television series for EbonyLife TV. He followed that up as 1st Assistant Director on the feature film DRAWING STRENGTH produced and directed by Dimbo Atiya, who also created Sons of the Caliphate. Reuben has been fortunate to continue a working relationship with Dimbo now as co-director on another television series called KALA KALA as well as lending his talent to the short film LEADING LADY produced by Rated E Productions.

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Director Statement

As a filmmaker and storyteller, I’m drawn to stories about the human condition that push narrative boundaries. When screenwriter Emil B. Hirai-Garuba approached me to direct his short script, I couldn’t refuse. LEADING LADY is a film that definitely pushes boundaries. It is a story about a rising young Nigerian actress named Folake Coker trying to negotiate the sudden level of exposure that accompanies her burgeoning career with her own insecurities. It a poetic story with a very human sentiment that will make viewers think about what it takes to make an effort to balance both organically.

I’ve heard someone mention that we only show about 10% of our emotions to others, as we’re too afraid of how others would judge us if they knew the full depth of our emotional complexity. With LEADING LADY, I wanted to explore this idea by creating moments of crisis played out in subdued heightened reality as best as I could.

Shot over two weekends in 2017 on a bare bones budget, this production would not have been possible without the collaborative spirit of our 9-member crew of friends and fellow film makers/enthusiasts. From cooking meals, to lugging gear, everyone eagerly pitched in, wearing whatever ‘hats’ were necessary to ensure the production’s success. LEADING LADY was made possible through their tireless commitment to creating a film together and I am immensely grateful.

Our goal is to screen this film across the world to spark conversations or join already existing ones about the pressures society places on women and those women sometimes put on themselves. For those in the entertainment industry especially it’s a conversation worth having.

Thank you,
Reuben Reng, Director