Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Regarding 'Song of the South' – The Film That Disney Doesn’t Want You to See Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' Watch Mekhi Phifer in Trailer for "First-Person Shooter" Zombie Thriller, 'Pandemic' 2016 SXSW Feature Films Lineup Announced - Several World Premieres of Note 2016 SXSW Feature Films Lineup Announced - Several World Premieres of Note HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' HBO Sets April Premiere Date for 'Confirmation' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch the Electrifying First Trailer for Don Cheadle's 'Miles Ahead' Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Watch: Tyler Perry Previews 'The Passion' 2-Hour Musical Event in New Orleans Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary Before Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film Is Released, Get Prepped By Watching Charles Burnett's 2003 Documentary Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) Watch: OWN Previews New Primetime Series 'It's Not You, It's Men' (Tyrese Gibson & Rev Run Host) LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' First Look at Nate Parker's Nat Turner Film, 'The Birth of a Nation' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Trailer For Kenyan *Superhero* Feature Narrative "Leo"

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 14, 2011 at 5:24AM

This reminds me of 2 Focus Features' Africa First Shorts film I saw at the New York African Film Festival earlier this year. The first, Umkhungo, a South African film, which I described as close to a superhero origin story, set in an African country, as I've seen, which centers on an orphaned child with uncontrollable supernatural powers, and those who'd rather see him expelled; the second, Mwansa The Great, made by Zambian Rungano Nyoni, that centers on an 8-year old, who, in an attempt to prove he is a hero just like his father who passed away, goes on a quest to find the "magical" substance necessary to fix his sister's broken doll, and finally prove that he is in fact destined for greatness.
8

This reminds me of 2 Focus Features' Africa First Shorts film I saw at the New York African Film Festival earlier this year. The first, Umkhungo, a South African film, which I described as close to a superhero origin story, set in an African country, as I've seen, which centers on an orphaned child with uncontrollable supernatural powers, and those who'd rather see him expelled; the second, Mwansa The Great, made by Zambian Rungano Nyoni, that centers on an 8-year old, who, in an attempt to prove he is a hero just like his father who passed away, goes on a quest to find the "magical" substance necessary to fix his sister's broken doll, and finally prove that he is in fact destined for greatness.

Directed by Jinna Mutune, Leo, as Bunmi at A Bombastic Element succinctly puts it, is "a film about a Kenyan boy dreaming of becoming a comic book superhero... Though the boy ends up realizing he is a different kind hero."

The film's website has this as an official synopsis:

... a charming and beguiling adult fairy-tale set in Nairobi, a Metropolitan City in Kenya that is a melting pot of East African culture, art, politics and commerce. It is a story about Maasai boy, raised in a low-income home, achieving his dream against all odds.
LEO film is a simple story that captures the essence of a child’s heart still open to all the posssibilities of achieving his dream in “Kenya” Africa.

I dig the idea that Bunmi introduces in his post on the film - essentially that black bodies are inherently supernatural, given *our* ability to survive and thrive in a white supremacist world. The idea came from a research paper penned by Anna Beatrice Scott in 2006, and is worth a read.

I'm also digging this focus by African filmmakers depicting Africans as potentially super-heroic, even if it's done so metaphorically to emphasize some other salient point, or disseminate ideas about Africa and Africans that challenge dominant international perceptions of the continent and the people within it.

The film stars Trevor Gitonga as the titular Leo, and the most recent bit of news about its progress is a blog post dated May 24th, 2011, stating that the film was in post-production. "... I’m at the editing studio looking at the rough cut of the film and I get teary when I think of God’s faithfulness..., the post reads.

I'm not sure where they are currently with the film, though I hope my requests for info don't go unanswered. And when I know more, you will to. But I'm guessing film festival play will follow...

Here's the trailer:

This article is related to: Trailer , Things That Make You Go Hmm...


Shadow & ActNewsletter