By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act March 14, 2014 at 5:50PM
How fast time flies; It feels like it was just a few months ago when I first wrote about this upcoming project.
But it was actually a full year ago - February 2013!
And a year later, a first teaser trailer for the film has surfaced, which I received in my email inbox this morning!
First, let's get caught up... for those who are just joining us, and also as a refresher for others.
I've previously said on Twitter and Facebook that any one, or any few from the pantheon of Orishas will make for great fodder for a feature film - whether a literal translation, or (getting creative) as superheroes, especially as Hollywood seems to be superhero movie happy right now.
The time is right for a filmmaker to take something like this on! And a filmmaker is doing just that (there of course might be others I don't know about).
British filmmaker Nosa Igbinedion is that filmmaker. And his film is titled Oya: Rise of the Orishas.
Here's a description of the project:
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.
It actually really hasn't been explored in American cinema either as well - certainly not Hollywood studio cinema! There've been indie documentaries that touch on the subject, but I can't immediately recall a feature-length fiction film that has.
And the pantheon of Orishas is deep! Eshu, Obatala, Ogun, Oshun, Shango, and countless others - each, as Nosa notes in his above description, with their own individual powers and responsibilities - a perfect set up for any filmmaker to get creative with. A nice chunk of your work is already done!
I should also note that you'll find Orisha lineages all over the Diaspora, not just in Nigeria (see South America and the Caribbean especially).
By the way, Oya, the Orisha in the title of Nosa's upcoming film, is considered a warrior, and some of her powers are really not all that different from Storm of the X-Men. Oya can control the weather; but she can do, and is responsible for much more than that. She's considered very powerful, even indestructible, and is believed to have been romantically-linked to both Ogun and Shango.
To make this project happen, Nosa (who's actually a visuals effects pro, by the way, which should assist here) took to Indiegogo to raise money, and drew just over $6,600, although his goal was to raise $7,500; but thankfully Indiegogo, unlike Kickstarter, lets you keep what you raise, even if you don't reach your goal.
Nosa's plan was/is to produce a short version of what will eventually become a feature-length film, as we've seen other filmmakers do repeatedly in the past, which he'll then use to 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.
So this is just a prelude to what's coming down the pike.
Ethosheia Hylton stars in the film.
And without further ado, here's a teaser look at the upcoming short version of Oya: Rise of the Orishas: