15 Feb

‘Oya: Rise of the Orishas’- Reimagining Orishas as Modern-Day Superheroes

I’ve been waiting for this film since the buzz about it years ago.

by Tambay A. Obenson Shadow and Act

British filmmaker Nosa Igbinedion’s “Oya: Rise of the Orishas” is now available to watch in full online. Long-time readers will recall that it’s a project we’ve been following on this blog for about 2 years, since the filmmaker took to crowdfunding to raise money to complete it.

A welcomed project that digs into the pantheon of Orishas as inspiration for a superhero-style picture, here’s a description of it: “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.”

The filmmaker’s plan is to eventually produce a feature-length film, expanding this short version, as we’ve seen other filmmakers do repeatedly in the past – shooting a short version of a script to help 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 first; win over their confidence; and then, hopefully, they’ll want to invest in you.

The filmmaker says that the full length film will be an action packed thriller set in modern-day Brazil, and will feature Oya, Sango and other Orisas. He is also working with Brazilian comic book company, Capa Comics, to create a comic book adaptation (based on the world that the feature film will be set in). That will be published soon.

So the short film embedded below is just a prelude to what’s coming down the pike.

Ethosheia Hylton stars in the film which earned director Igbinedion a Rising Star nomination by the 2015 Screen Nation Awards.


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