The NOSC, a panel of 14 industry experts, submitted its first-ever Pidgin film to the Academy, emphasizing their commitment to diversity and global representation. In an official statement dated October 15, 2023, it praised “Mami Wata” for its relevant themes and unique storytelling about pre and post-colonial African societies. The committee also commended the film for its technical and artistic excellence.
Stephanie Linus, Chairperson of NOSC, hailed the film as a prime example of outstanding work and encouraged Nigerian filmmakers to keep honing their skills and aiming for global excellence.
“I’m excited to announce a milestone in our NOSC journey: our first Pidgin film submission to the Academy, marking our commitment to diversity and global representation. I urge filmmakers not to relent in enhancing their skills, and elevate production to global standards,” Linus stated.
Shot in Benin Republic, “Mami Wata” offers a fresh take on the mythology of a titular mermaid-deity of West African folklore. It features an outstanding cast consisting Evelyne Ily Juhen, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Kelechi Udegbe, Emeka Amakeze, Rita Edochie, Tough Bone, and Jakob Kerstan. Although it made a modest ₦4.5 million during its initial three weeks in Nigerian cinemas, facing challenges like unfavorable time slots and technical hitches, the film resonated internationally.
Even before its local release, it interested the global film community, gaining recognition at the Sundance Festival in January, where it won a special jury prize for its vivid black-and-white cinematography. What’s more, it clinched multiple nominations at the 2023 Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) including Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Achievement in Make-Up, and Best Achievement in Costume Design.
The decision on whether “Mami Wata” will outshine numerous international competitors to secure a place on the shortlist for the 96th Oscars ceremony on March 10th, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation, Hollywood, now rests with the IFF Executive Committee.
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