I’ve previously said on Twitter and Facebook that any one, or any few from the pantheon of Orishas will make for great fodder for a feature film – whether a literal translation, or (getting creative) as superheroes, especially as Hollywood seems to be superhero movie happy right now.
The time is right for a filmmaker to take something like this on! And a filmmaker is doing just that (there of course might be others I don’t know about).
First, last summer, I featured an experimental 10-minute short film by London-based filmmakers Nosa Igbinedion and Shola Amoo, titled Reparations For The Soul.
Brit Ashley Walters (who we’ve written about several times on this site) starred in it, as did Kyla Frye, and Michael Maris.
The film was produced under their Precise Pictures banner, with the goal being to create “visually stunning and original work.“
And now one half of that directing duo, Nosa Igbinedion, is about to embark on his next project, which, based on what I know thus far, definitely has my interest.
Here’s a description of the project, which will be titled Oya: Rise of the Orishas:
The film resurrects mythical deities from African folklore, known as Orishas, into modern-day superheroes in Britain. The film will be presented In a visually unique style drawing inspiration from related genres, including sci-fi, action and martial arts and presenting a truly phenomenal spectacle in the art of film. According to the Yoruba religion of Nigeria Orishas are a collective of charismatic deities with specialised supernatural gifts, powers and responsibilities. Tradition has it that these supernatural beings once walked the earth with humanity. We will tell a story that has not been heard before and discover worlds that have not yet been explored in Black British Cinema. These rich worlds and stories have been carried in peoples’ minds for millennia and told mostly orally. Amazingly, this culture has not been visualised on the British silver screen, until now.
It actually really hasn’t been explored in American cinema either as well – certainly not Hollywood studio cinema! There’ve been indie documentaries that touch on the subject, but I can’t immediately recall a feature-length fiction film that has.
And the pantheon of Orishas is deep! Eshu, Obatala, Ogun, Oshun, Shango, and countless others – each, as Nosa notes in his above description, with their own individual powers and responsibilities – a perfect set up for any filmmaker to get creative with. A nice chunk of your work is already done!
I should also note that you’ll find Orisha lineages all over the Diaspora, not just in Nigeria (see South America and the Caribbean especially).
By the way, Oya, the Orisha in the title of Nosa’s upcoming film, is considered a warrior, and some of her powers are really not all that different from Storm of the X-Men. Oya can control the weather; but she can do, and is responsible for much more than that. She’s considered very powerful, even indestructible, and is believed to have been romantically-linked to both Ogun and Shango.
To make this project happen, Nosa (who’s actually a visuals effects pro, by the way, which should assist here) needs money! So what’s new, right?
He’ll be launching a crowd-funding campaign in a couple of weeks to raise money to produce a short version of the script he’s penned. And then, once that short film is complete, as we’ve seen other filmmakers do repeatedly in the past, he’ll use the short film to raise money for the feature.
This is an approach I’ve always championed – especially if you’re a relatively unknown filmmaker. Show them what you can do, win over their confidence, and then, hopefully, they’ll want to invest in you.
So this is just a prelude to that crowd-funding campaign. I got excited by the idea of this, and being familiar with Nosa’s previous work, I had to share.
He’s already created a website for the project HERE; a Facebook page HERE; and a Twitter account HERE. So you can follow the project’s progress.
When the crowd-funding campaign begins, I’ll certainly let you know.
On the project’s Facebook page and website, you’ll find promo art like this one: