A few years ago, we were vocal about our concerns for a movie titled “The Dead” – or as I titled it the “Zombies In Africa” project, co-directed by brothers Howard J. Ford and Jonathan Ford (Americans), shot entirely on location in mostly Burkina Faso and Ghana, and was described as “a powerful story of one man’s struggle to survive in extreme circumstances all the while battling against a menacing threat all around him!”
An American mercenary, the sole survivor of a plane crash, travels across continental Africa, battling the living dead, joining forces with a local military man, who is desperately searching for his son amongst the chaos, as they fight together to survive.
Naturally, the American mercenary is white and male, not-so unlike the hero in “District 9,” amidst a sea of zombies, seemingly made up entirely of black Africans. It’s not an allegorical tale, but some layered analysis of just the concept alone could be a dissertation, as I said previously.
While I certainly welcome, and embrace a zombie film made in any part of Africa, starring Africans, this particular set up made me a little uncomfortable, if past films about Africans in Africa, with white lead protagonists, produced by non-Africans (read white Americans or Europeans especially) are any indication of what to expect.
That movie is out on home video platforms, by the way, if you’re curious.
I started with that as a lead-in to share what looks like a “zombie film,” set in an African country, but, this time, starring black Africans, minus white lead protagonist, and made by a black African filmmaker. Specifically, the film is set in Nigeria, with a Nigerian cast, written and directed by a Nigerian filmmaker in C.J. Obasi.
Titled “Ojuju” the film, which recently won the Best Nigerian Movie award at the 2014 Africa International Film Festival, in Nigeria, tells the tale of a man named Romero, and his friends, Emmy and Peju, who find themselves amidst a neighborhood-wide mysterious infection that’s turning people into, effectively, zombie-like creatures. Together, the friends track the disease to the local source of water supply, and struggle to understand its origins, while fighting to stay alive.
The film stars Gabriel Afolayan, Omowunmi Dada, Kelechi Udegbe, Meg Otanwa, Chidozie Nzeribe, Brutus Richard, Jumoke Ayadi, Paul Utomi and introducing Kelechi Joseph.
I unfortunately have yet to see the film, but will eventually, I’m sure.
In the meantime, check out an interview the filmmaker gave to our friends at Smart Monkey TV, in which he talks about the genesis of the film, his horror film inspiration, what he’s working on next, and more. The trailer for the movie follows the interview:
And here’s the trailer: