A Nigerian film, “Mami Wata” has been selected for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.
The annual festival, which is a convergence of original storytellers from across the globe, will be held in the United States between January 19 and 29, 2023.
The organisers announced the 12 films that made the shortlist for the competition on Wednesday evening.
“12 narrative feature films from emerging talent around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles,” a statement on its website read.
Among the 12 selected films is the Nigerian entry Mami Wata, set to debut at the prestigious gathering.
“When the harmony in a village is threatened by outside elements, two sisters must fight to save their people and restore the glory of a mermaid goddess to the land,” the organisers wrote about Mami Wata.
The film’s selection in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition makes it a nominee for the festival’s World Cinema Grand Jury Prize, Directing, and Special Jury Award.
Directed by CJ Obasi, produced by Oge Obasi, and distributed by Film One, Mami Water is the story of two sisters who, when their village is threatened, must fight to save their people, and restore the glory of a mermaid goddess to the land.
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Reacting to news of the selection and Sundance’s announcement, leading production and distribution company, Film One Distribution, distributors of the film, expressed their excitement and declared it a boost for the Nigerian film industry.
“This is really a big deal for us,” said the company’s co-founders, Moses Babatope and Kene Okwuosa in a statement.
“We had a good feeling about this film and believed in Obasi’s exceptional talent as a director, and while we have looked forward to this selection, it is still very gratifying to know we are supporting the very best coming out of Nigeria.”
Elated CJ and Oge Obasi said they are thrilled to be selected for the competition.
“We am so very thrilled about this selection. It is such a great honour and honestly, it feels surreal. You put in the work and hope for the best, then when recognition comes, it is both remarkable and very fulfilling. It is also a challenge to keep raising the bar and inspiring others to do the same.”