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Vote True: Nigerian short film about 2023 elections wins at Cannes

Vote True is a compelling political drama stirring Nigerians to change the directory of the nation using their democratic power.

Vote True, a three-minute short film released ahead of Nigeria's 2023 elections, won a prize at this year's Cannes World Film Festival — adding weight to the perception that 2023 is the year of Nigeria's emergence on the global cultural stage.

Toyin Elebe, the founder of Telefectiv Productions, which specialises in documentaries, TV content, and feature films, won the award for the Best Voiceover category at one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

Directed by David Symmon, a British filmmaker, and released in January 2023, Vote True is a compelling political drama stirring Nigerians to change the directory of the nation using their democratic power.

Elebe's voice, deep like a sage's and cadenced to compel his listeners, narrates the stirring promise of the nation upon independence and the sour unfulfillment that has followed.

The film opens with a stirring montage of scenes from Nigeria's Independence Day in 1960, a time of hope and optimism for the young nation. Elebe's lens captures the vibrant colours and infectious energy of Nigerians as they celebrate their newfound freedom. But the film quickly juxtaposes these images with scenes of the country's current struggles, including corruption, poverty, and insecurity.

Elebe then introduces us to a cast of ordinary Nigerians who are determined to make a difference. There is the "grandfather who helped in the construction of new roads, connecting Nigerians during the colonial period — the entrepreneurial father who believed in his country's enormous potential but never saw it in his lifetime and the hard-working women, undeterred by challenges faced and yet able to raise families and other people's children as if they were their own".

Toyin Elebe

Toyin Elebe Pulse Nigeria

Through the stories of these individuals, Elebe shows that change is possible — that it is up to each of us to play our part in building a better future for Nigeria.

Solid as a rock, yet upbeat, the middle-aged business executive and film producer, is passionate about Nigeria and holds a firm belief that the nation has the potential to be a first-world country. His personal ambitions are to amplify African voices and storytelling on the global stage in order to rebrand the continent and unlock her potential.

Elebe's victory in the voice-over category at the Cannes World Film Festival (CWFF) is a historic moment for Nigeria. It is the first time a Nigerian has won this prestigious award, and it is a testament to Elebe's talent and dedication.

Cannes prize for Vote True

Cannes prize for Vote True Pulse Nigeria

X3M Ideas Group, one of the leading creative agencies in Nigeria, also won Nigeria's first Cannes Lions International Festival for Creativity. This is a clear sign Nigeria's creative industry is on the rise and Nigerian creatives are capable of competing on the global stage. The festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or, was awarded to the French film Anatomy of a Fall directed by Justine Triet.

In an interview, Elebe revealed that Vote True has not only won the Best Voice-Over at the CWFF; it won the Grand Jury Award at the New York International Film Awards for Best Director, and Best Actor at the Berlin Indie Film Festival. "The film has also been nominated as a finalist at the Boden International Film Festival in Sweden and The Lisbon Film Rendezvous in Lisbon, Portugal," Elebe disclosed.

Berlin Indie award for Vote True

Berlin Indie award for Vote True Pulse Nigeria

Elebe and Symmons are bringing on more projects through their Telefectiv on a tentpole film franchise. Elebe said the team "has been encouraged by the success of Vote True."

Elebe wants to make films that tell untold stories and contribute to the shaping of Nigeria's cultural narrative. He wants to create motion pictures that will prepare audiences for the next frontier, a universe of boundless potential.