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C.J. Obasi on African Myths, Style Twists and Sundance Pic ‘Mami Wata’

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Seven years earlier than its Jan. 23 world premiere in Park Metropolis — the first-time {that a} homegrown Nigerian characteristic has scored a coveted slot within the World Cinema Dramatic competitors at Sundance — C.J. Obasi’s “Mami Wata” started with a imaginative and prescient.

The director was sitting on a West African seashore, in between tasks and considering his subsequent transfer. Abruptly, an apparition got here to him: A mermaid standing on the ocean’s shore, beckoning to a mysterious younger girl behind him.

“It was actually vivid,” Obasi says. “It was in black and white. Within the imaginative and prescient, the goddess’ eyes are crimson, but additionally very comfortable. There was a kindness to her eyes. Once I got here to, I stated, OK, so my subsequent film is ‘Mami Wata.’”

What adopted was a private {and professional} journey to know that second on the seashore, and to breathe life right into a film in regards to the titular mermaid-deity of West African folklore. Written and directed by Obasi, with hanging black-and-white cinematography by Brazilian DP Lílis Soares, “Mami Wata” is produced by Oge Obasi of Lagos-based Fiery Movie Firm and repped internationally by CAA Media Finance.

“Mami Wata” is ready within the legendary West African village of Iyi, whose inhabitants pay tribute to and search steering from the healer and religious middleman Mama Efe, performed by veteran Nigerian display star Rita Edochie. After a mysterious sickness begins to assert the lives of Iyi’s younger, an area man (Kelechi Udegbe) begins to sow doubts in regards to the healer’s capability to guard them.

With the arrival of a insurgent warlord (Emeka Amakeze) on the run from his violent previous, and the demise of Mama Efe, a brand new established order emerges within the village. It falls to the healer’s daughter, Zinwe (Uzoamaka Aniunoh), and protégé, Prisca (Evelyne Ily), to avoid wasting the individuals of Iyi, establishing a battle between the villagers’ conventional beliefs and a extra fashionable, Western lifestyle.

Evelyne Ily in C.J. Obasi’s “Mami Wata,” which premiered on the Sundance Movie Competition.
Courtesy of Sundance Movie Competition

The movie is, amongst different issues, a celebration of African womanhood — and sisterhood — a incontrovertible fact that owes partly to the director’s two late sisters, to whom “Mami Wata” is devoted. “I used to be raised by my sisters as a lot as I used to be raised by my mother and my dad. They have been my position fashions. They have been like superwomen,” he says. “That, for me, was my expertise of what an African girl is. It’s all I knew rising up. Once I turned extra mature, I noticed that I by no means noticed that in movie. These characters, Prisca and Zinwe, needed to be rooted in that.”

“Mami Wata” is an exploration and reimagination of West African mythology, one thing that has likewise been an outsized affect on Obasi all through his profession. “A method or one other, I delve into the occult. However I don’t see the occult as something evil,” he says. “It’s our tradition. It’s our spirituality. It’s who we’re.” He continues: “Once I method a narrative like ‘Mami Wata,’ it was crucial for me to not care about these perceptions and take a look at it the best way I feel we should always take a look at us” — that’s, to have fun African myths and storytelling by viewing them via an African lens, unencumbered by the Western gaze.

Obasi’s filmmaking has however tried to bridge the divide, exploring mainstream style conventions from an African perspective. The director’s first characteristic, the zero-budget zombie thriller “Ojuju,” was adopted by a semi-autobiographical gangster story, “O-City,” and a brief movie, “Hey, Rain,” based mostly on an Afrofuturist quick story by Nnedi Okorafor. Final yr, he co-directed the Locarno prize-winning anthology movie “Juju Tales,” a triptych of tales rooted in Nigerian folklore and concrete legend.

Obasi shared directing credit on the movie with fellow Nigerian helmers Abba Makama (“The Misplaced Okoroshi”) and Michael Omonua (“The Man Who Cuts Tattoos”), who’re the co-founders of the Surreal16 moviemaking collective. With a string of top-shelf pageant premieres already underneath its belt, the group is pushing Nigerian cinema past the mainstream tropes acquainted to followers of the nation’s prolific Nollywood movie business.

Maybe extra importantly, Obasi and his colleagues are serving to to redefine Nigerian — and African — cinema on the worldwide stage. “In the case of the dialogue of world cinema, there’s solely a sure understanding of what African cinema is. I’ve simply not been high-quality with that,” he says. “We’ve far more to supply: stylistically, aesthetically, narratively. We will actually do stuff that no one sees coming. That is only the start.”

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Open Put up: Hosted By An Ohio Animal Shelter That Will Title A Litter Field After Your Ex For Valentine’s Day

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February 5, 2023 / Posted by: Vanessa

It’s virtually Valentine’s Day. And you realize what which means. For {couples}, overlook about it till the precise day after which panic purchase some limp flowers or cologne at Marshall’s. For the newly single, it’s a time of angst and woe. When CVS is decked out in pink M&Ms and big pink teddy bears, consumerism makes it laborious to disregard that you simply’re alone this 12 months due to your silly ex. Fairly than mope on the bar or slash the tires of a Toyota Camry, why not inscribe their title on a cat’s bathroom? An Ohio animal shelter affords this service to fundraise and, extra importantly, assist the heartbroken by letting them be petty!

If you happen to really feel such as you’ve been scorned, dedicating a litter field to an ex just isn’t a nasty strategy to go AND it helps canine and cats. It’s a win-win! However you gotta do it earlier than Valentine’s Day. by way of UPI:

An animal shelter in Hamilton, Ohio, is holding a singular fundraiser as a lead-up to Valentine’s Day.

The Animal Buddies Humane Society stated Wednesday it should title a cat litter field after an ex romantic accomplice.

The gesture will value $5 per field, whereas the promotion will run till Feb. 12.

The shelter will then reveal all of the sponsored litter bins, names included, in a Fb put up on Valentine’s Day.

$5 is cheaper than a therapist, and also you’d be serving to a cat pee in peace. I do know it’s for Valentine’s Day, however does it should be an ex? I at present have some beef with the Xfinity customer support girl who has been blowing me off in terms of points with my web service. I used to be alleged to get a name again final week! If anybody deserves to be immortalized on a litter field, it undoubtedly needs to be DONNA!

Pic: Axel Bueckert/iStock

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Korea Field Workplace: ‘The First Slam Dunk’ Takes Prime Spot

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Japanese animation movie “The First Slam Dunk” was the undisputed champion on the South Korean field workplace over the weekend. Not solely did depose “Abatar: The Manner of Water” from first place it additionally grew its week-on-week efficiency by 10% – in its fifth weekend on launch.

Per week earlier the 2 high titles have been a lot nearer. Korean field workplace charts which rank efficiency by the variety of tickets bought positioned “The First Slam Dunk” on high. However by way of gross receipts, “Avatar 2” had been the highest vendor.

Over the newest weekend “The First Slam Dunk” earned $2.89 million from 276,000 tickets bought., making it a transparent winner over “Avatar 2” which pulled in $1.35 million from 114,000 tickets.

“The First Slam Dunk” has been a leggy hit performer in its native Japan and in different Asian markets. In Korea, it has carried out unusually steadily, incomes between $2 million and $3 million for 5 consecutive weekends. It now has a cumulative whole of $19.4 million since releasing in Korea on Jan. 4.

In third place, “The Level Males” which briefly overtook “Avatar 2” in mid-January, earned $745,000 over the weekend. That gave it a cumulative rating of $13.1 million after three weekends on launch.

The best opener of the weekend was live performance film “BTS: But to Are available Cinemas” which earned $576,000 and $1.06 million over its opening 5 days.

“Babylon” (proven as occupying fourth place within the native chart, by advantage of extra tickets bought) adopted with $540,000 over the weekend and $782,000 over its opening 5 days.

Korean-made “Hero,” earned $378,000 over the newest weekend for a cumulative of $24.8 million earned since Dec. 21.

Taiwan’s “Sometime or One Day” earned $369,000 for a complete of $1.89 million after two weekends.

Korean “Phantom” earned $334,000 for a $4.99 million cumulative, assembled over three weekends.

The 2 remaining U.S. titles, “M3GAN” and “Puss in Boots: The Final Want” ranked ninth and tenth, respectively. The previous earned $316,000 for a cumulative of $1.60 million after two weekends, the latter earned $206,000 for a complete of $6.01 million since its debut on Jan. 4.

The nationwide mixture was simply $7.70 million, the bottom weekend rating in 9 weeks. Weekend performances are notably larger than within the first six weeks of 2022.

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Egypt’s Omar El Zohairy Luggage Finest Movie at Joburg Movie Pageant With ‘Feathers’

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Saturday night time meant one other feather within the cap for Egyptian director Omar El Zohairy, whose Arab-language social satire “Feathers” took the Finest Movie prize on the awards night time of the fifth Joburg Movie Pageant in Johannesburg, South Africa. His story facilities on a father who actually turns right into a hen throughout a magic present at a son’s celebration.

“Feathers,” additionally written by Zohairy, was winner of Cannes Critics’ Week in 2021 and bagged awards on the El-Gouna Movie Pageant, Carthage Movie Pageant and Pingyao Movie Pageant, in addition to final yr’s Rabat Worldwide Creator Movie Pageant.

In the meantime, “Faya Dayi,” the monochrome docu-drama from first-time Mexican-Ethiopian director Jessica Beshir, about rising the khat plant in Ethiopia, scooped the prize within the Finest African Movie class on the glitzy in-person ceremony, which happened contained in the Nelson Mandela Sq.’s Theatre on the Sq. in Johannesburg.

The fest’s Finest Documentary honors went to the searing “We, College students,” Rafiki Fariala’s characteristic directorial debut from the Central African Republic. The movie presents a harsh and unflinching gaze on the horrific surroundings the filmmaker and his pals encounter on the campus of the College of Bangui, the place points starting from tutorial corruption to sexual harassment are rife amidst horrible dwelling situations.

The Younger Voices award went to “Younger Shepherd” from George Temba.

“The jury course of for 2023’s Joburg Movie Pageant was a tremendous assembly of minds of a extremely skilled and numerous African group of filmmakers,” mentioned juror Njoki Muhoho.

“In the course of the deliberations, the variety of data and expertise in storytelling got here into play. The respect for fellow filmmakers’ craft was evidenced within the self-discipline and a spotlight by which we screened and watched the movies. The hours have been lengthy however as intense and pleasurable. The consequence was unanimous settlement on the three class winners of the JFF 2023.”

The entire record of winners:

Finest Movie: “Feathers”
Finest African Movie: “Faya Dayi”
Finest Documentary: “We, College students”
Younger Voice: “Younger Shepherd”

The African paycaster MultiChoice additionally co-presented 5 MultiChoice African Storyteller Awards:

Rising Storyteller Award: Siphosethu Tshapu (The Milton Empire)
World Storyteller Award: Phathutshedzo Makwarela and Gwydion Beynon (Tshedza Footage)
Fearless Storyteller Award: Chris Q. Radebe (Match Level)
Rising African Star Award: Star Kganki Mphahlele (Pula Bakgaga Media)
Anansi Award: Connie Chiume

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