Sundance film festival has selected ‘Mami Wata’, C.J. “Fiery” Obasi’s black and white fantasy drama to premiere in the World Cinema Dramatic Category, alongside 11 “other narrative features from emerging talents across the world offering fresh perspectives and inventive styles.”
This feature film follows Prisca and Zinwe, daughters of Mama Efe (an intermediary between the Mermaid goddess and the people of Iyi, a small fishing village in West Africa). Their destinies change when Jasper, an escaped mercenary takes over Iyi. Mami Wata stars Evelyne Ily, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Emeka Amakeze, Kelechi Udegbe, Rita Edochie and Tough Bone.
Sundance is a well-recognised film festival for indie filmmakers who see massive breakthroughs in their projects and career. it tables global deals to the best of films, irrespective of the continent the film emerges from. It also presents an opportunity for film creators to get in on distribution deals and hammer global recognition.
Making the announcement on Twitter, the filmmaker shared: “MAMI WATA World premiere is at #Sundance 2023!
To my team. I love you all so much. You already know. Together, we made a film that is nothing, but a pure and uninhibited expression of love for film and for dark bodies. Afrikan cinema will live forever! Thank you so much.”
In a Meet The Artist Profile, Obasi describes Mami Wata as a film “about an African deity rooted in West African mythology, religion and spirituality.”
C.J. “Fiery” Obasi is no stranger to the festival circuit as his previous films Ojuju, Hello, Rain and O-Town have screened at many festivals. His latest effort, Juju Stories, a three-part anthology under the Surreal16 Collective, won the Boccalino D’oro Award for Best Film at Locarno Film Festival 2021.
Oge Obasi serves as a producer on Mami Wata which was shot on location in Benin Republic.
Speaking on the implication of Mami Wata at the festival, Wilfred Okiche, a global film critic said, “Sundance is ultra-competitive. Approximately 4000 feature films and 9000 short films are submitted to Sundance Film Festival every year, and of this huge number, only 120 features and 70 shorts get selected by the organisers of the festival.
Mami Wata being among the few movies that were eventually shortlisted shows that they like it.”
It is important to note that Mami Wata screening at this film festival and entering into this competition is a great stride as it is the first to do and also spotlights Nigerian cinema,
Sundance Film Festival has been scheduled to hold from the 19th to the 29th of January 2023.
The festival offers a range of tickets for persons interested in watching physically or on demand.
The African rights for Mami Wata have been obtained by FilmOne, making the company its distributor for persons interested in having a big screen experience.
Mami Wata stands out not only as west African folklore written and directed by CJ Obasi but also as a fantasy film that is in black and white.