Here's a first look via trailer at Burkinabe filmmaker Cédric Ido's upcoming superhero-inspired short film Twaaga (in English, Invincible), made via the Focus Features' Africa First program.
For those unfamiliar with the program... launched in 2009, Africa First was created "to foster and develop long-term relationships with some of the most promising up-and-coming filmmakers from continental Africa."
The aim is that, through financial support of the program and mentorship provided by the Focus Features Africa First Advisory Board, to bring African filmmakers into an environment that will allow them to grow as filmmakers with an international audience. Each year, five filmmakers are awarded $10,000 each for production on a narrative short film made in continental Africa.
Kisha Cameron-Dingle, producer of such such projects as Spike Lee's 2000 film, Bamboozled, and the 2005 TV drama about Rwandan genocide, Sometimes in April, runs the Africa First program for Focus Features, and her company, Completion Films, has a first-look and consulting deal with the company.
You might remember Cédric Ido's last short film, the 25-minute award-winning samurai-influenced Hasaki Ya Suda (a short that helped get him into the 2011 Berlinale Talent Campus, as well as a slot amongst the fourth class of Focus Features' Africa First filmmaker program). I previously featured it on S&A, and, as I recall, your responses to it were favorable.
In my conversations with Cédric, he's talked about being influenced by samurai movies of yesteryear, especially those from the master himself, Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Yohimbo to name 3). Cédric is also a superhero fanboy, and plans to make films about black people that incorporate unlikely/unexpected elements, and that are within genres that historically and still currently ignore the contributions of people of African descent.
His Focus Features Africa First project Twaaga is one such project, which is in post-production, and should debut on the film festival circuit soon. Cédric says that he film will blend live action and animation in what will be a story about a young boy’s quest to become a superhero.
While we wait for the film to debut, here's a teaser trailer for a glimpse at what's coming. And if you haven't seen Cédric's last work - Hasaki Ya Suda, it's not online currently, but I embedded a trailer for that as well, so you can see what you missed. Although I'm sure it'll be back online again sometime soon.
First, here's the teaser for Twaaga: