Some of Nollywood’s latest productions have shown there’s more goodness to come, and maybe, the industry will become a global hot cake like its sister, afrobeats.

In the last three years, Nollywood has partnered with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and in January 2023, featured at Sundance courtesy of C.J “Fiery” Obasi’s “Mami Wata”. Although it hasn’t premiered in Nigeria yet, here’s what we know about the globe-trotting movie.

It’s a moral-lessons type of film

“Mami Wata” is about the balance of things; good and evil. It touches on issues like gender politics, tradition and modernity. Almost every culture has a mermaid story, so don’t be afraid of myths as you watch this.

It took time to make

It took seven years to complete this movie. The writing process began in 2016, went through over eight drafts and developmental labs like the Europe-based Less Is More and Ouaga film lab in Burkina Faso. Filming eventually began in 2021. Great things, indeed, take time.

It’s in black and white

The pictures and short clips we’ve seen from this film show compelling black-and-white cinematography. It looks like charcoal but eye-catching, raw, thrilling and timeless. Why won’t it get an international nomination?

Shot in Benin

In January 2021, C.J. and his crew landed in Nigeria’s neighbouring country, Benin Republic, to shoot “Mami Wata”. They filmed in rural places like Dahe, Possotome, Bopa and Grand Popo.

It’s a trilingual film

English was flowing between the film’s characters, so was the West African Pidgin and Fon — an indigenous language that belongs to Benin’s people of Fon. Truly, it’s a film for all of Africa.

Cast lineup is giving sability

“Mami Wata” features experienced actors like Kelechi Udegbe (“Officer Titus”, “The Governor”, “King of Boys: The Return of the King”, etc.), Uzoamaka Aniunoh (“MTV Shuga”, “Diiche”, “Stuck”), Evelyn Illy Juhen (“Desrances”, “Cacao”, “Saloum”) and Rita Edochie. In case you didn’t know, these people and great films:

Live at Sundance

In 2022, “Mami Wata” became the first film by a Nigerian-based filmmaker (C.J. Obasi) to be premiered at Sundance — one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world and United States’s biggest independent film festival.

It’s also Nollywood’s first at Venice

It was the first Nollywood film to screen at the Venice Film Festival (the world’s oldest film festival) in 2021. C.J. has announced new festival dates in June 2023.

It’s already packing awards

The cinematographer, Lilis Soares, won the Special Jury Prize in the World Dramatic Competition. The film also bagged three FESPACO (The Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso) awards, a Meilleure Image (Cinematography Award), a Meilleur Décor (Set Design Award) and a Prix de la Critique (Pauline S. Vieyra’s African Critics Award). C.J. and his team are doing something right.

Critics love it

Rotten Tomatoes, the world’s biggest film hater critic, approved and rated it 100%. The Hollywood Reporter said it’s “energizing”. Indie Wire finds it “mesmerizing”. When you’re good, you’re good, abeg.

The Nigerian release date 

On June 15, 2023, Oge Obasi, “Mami Wata”’s producer, and the partner/head of production at Fiery Film Company, made this announcement:

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