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C.J Obasi’s “Mami Wata” Finally Makes it Local Debut, Set to Premiere September 8

This Nollywood film took approximately seven years to make.
August 26, 2023
6:39 am
Mami Wata in black and white

Nigerian filmmaker C.J “Fiery” Obasi has had quite an illustrious career in Nollywood. As a screenwriter, producer, and film director, his career credits include the widely celebrated “Lionheart,” the didactic “Juju Stories,” and the zero-budget film “Ojuju.” His latest project, “Mami Wata” was first released in January and premiered at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. It became the first feature by a Nigerian filmmaker to debut at the festival and bagged three awards, including Best Cinematography.


“Mami Wata” is a film that took approximately seven years to make. Obasi came up with the concept and started developing the script in 2016. To make the script perfect, he participated in several writing labs and focused on other projects before principal photography began. Principal photography took place in the rural villages of Benin, and it wrapped up in 2021.


African goddess on big screen

What makes the film’s concept stand out is its black-and-white-styled cinematography. Usually, Nollywood films “live in color” and have grandiose aesthetics, but “Mami Wata” is different. Taking place in the fictional Iyi village, the film tells the story of how the villagers’ faith in the water goddess (Mami Wata) is put to the test when their children develop a strange illness and die. Meanwhile, the smell of war permeates the air with the arrival of a rebel with a vendetta.


The film’s cast includes Rita Edochie, Kelechi Udegbe, Tough Bone, Evelyne Ily Juhen, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Emeka Amakeze, and Jakob Kerstan. The languages employed to bring the narrative to life are West African Pidgin, English, and Fon.


Redefining Nollywood

Production was handled by Oge Obasi under the wing of the Fiery Film Company. Lilis Soares took charge of the cinematography.


“Mami Wata” is set to be released nationwide on Sept.8, however, that is not all. According to TNR sources, it will also premiere in the United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and other Francophone African countries before the end of the year.


Watch the trailer here.


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