With Marvel’s Black panther seemingly making all the waves, it’s easy for other ground-breaking movies to drop through the cracks. 2018 seems to be the year that ‘Afrofuturism’ finally becomes a thing. And apparently Nollywood is not being left out of the movement.
Nigerian movie director CJ Obasi is currently wrapping up production on Nollywood’s first Afrofuturistic movie titled Hello rain, a movie adaptation of Hello moto, a short story by Nnedi Okorafor.
Set in Lagos, the movie depicts the life of 3 women who set out to bring change to the situation of their society by blending the qualities of science and witchcraft. The outcome backfires and they suffer the consequences.
According to CJ Obasi, the premise of the film:
A Scientist-Witch through an alchemical combination of juju and technology creates wigs which grant her and her friends supernatural powers. But when their powers grow uncontrollable, she must stop them by any means.
Mind control wigs? Sounds pretty exciting. With screenplay and direction by CJ Obasi from Fiery films, the themes are entrenched in mysticism and technology with a strong social commentary angle. The movie addresses a number of social issues, especially the standards of female beauty in a patriarchal construct but deploys such themes in a contemporary science fiction backdrop.
From the posters, photos and videos shared from the production crew, the movie also has a strong African fashion influence.
Leading lady, #Coco played by #OgeeNelson raises her glass of ice cold Premium Cream Liquer, @amarulang to the true Spirit of African art. We welcome #Amarula to the #HelloRain family as an official Supporter of our Sci-fi fantasy short film. #HelloRain A @fieryfilm presentation in association with @Igodofilmsandmediaco and #MatanyaFilms will be coming to you in 2018 Partnered by @sodas_popcorn and @dixtrit.media #Afrofuturism #FieryFilm #Shortfilm #TasteOfAfrica #MadeFromAfrica #SpiritOfAfrica #TrulyAfrican #ShapedByAfrica #MondayMotivation #AmarulaMoment #AmarulaCoffee #Africa
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African or even Nigerian Science fiction is not a big sell especially within Nigeria, the largest movie market on the African continent. Most of the box office monsters in Nigeria in recent times have been slapstick comedy and romantic dramas. So why will any proper thinking movie maker dabble with science fiction?
According to the screenwriter and director:
My intention is to make African beauty look cool, fun and sexy—as it is! It’s our time now, and I wanna see my people looking damn cool, and doing cool things on the big screen. I need that so badly. This is why Black Panther is so important. And I’ve been saying this for years—when Black Panther drops, it’s going to change the world, and change how films are made, because, finally, the world will see that black character-driven films do have a demand, and can make a gazillion dollars in the box office. Black is going to be sexy, like it should have always been. This has always been my dream and lifeblood, to see this day. And I’m so blessed to be a part of rewriting that narrative, in my own small way. CJ OBASI
From his track record, it’s obvious CJ Obasi isn’t one to follow the well trodden path. His first film, the zombie zombie thriller Ojuju caused a stir in Nollywood, and he immediately followed that up with into the crime-thriller O-Town, both with contemporary Nigeria as the backdrop. Both movies totally going against the perceived norm of what Nollywood audiences were reported to be interested in. Apparently, he looks to do the same with his adaptation of Okorafor’s short story Hello, Moto (which you can read here) in another renegade take on a familiar genre.
The movie is currently in post production and is scheduled to hit the cinemas in late 2018.