‘Mami Wata’ Selected as Nigeria’s IFF Contender for 2024 Oscars

‘Mami Wata’ has been chosen as Nigeria’s International Feature Film (IFF) nominee for the 96th Academy Awards.

On Sunday night, the Nigeria Oscars Official Committee (NOSC) announced their 2024 selection in a statement.

C.J. Obasi’s ‘Mami Wata’ is a reimagining of the story of a titular mermaid deity in West African culture.

The mythology, among other things, celebrates the status of womanhood.

The film was chosen by NOSC for its topical theme of women generations being at the vanguard of society’s well-being, its innovative method to portraying a story of pre and post-colonial African communities, and its technical excellence, according to the organization.

NOSC voting members include chairperson Stephanie Linus, Chidia Maduekwe, MD of Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), Victor Okhai, president of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN), and actress Omotola Jalade.

Andy Amenechi, former president of DGN, theatrical practitioner Yibo Koko, and filmmaker Izu Ojukwu are among the others.

Also among the voting members are cinematographer Adetokunbo Odubawo, producer Emem Isong, director Dimeji Ajibola, director Jude Idada, costumier Ngozi Okafor, actor John Njamah, and actress Meg Otanwa.

Announcing the selection, Linus said ‘Mami Wata’ becomes NOSC’s first Pidgin English submission to the Oscars.

“I urge filmmakers not to relent in enhancing their skills, and elevate production to global standards,” she added.

“Mami Wata advances in the Oscars race having received the highest votes from the 14-man committee.

“The next stage of the film will be determined by the IFF executive committee.”

‘Mami Wata,’ shot on location in the Republic of Benin, depicts the story of a beach-side community that must question previously held beliefs when a stranger washes on ashore and threatens their serenity.

The film, which was released theatrically in Nigeria and other countries, earned the Sundance Film Festival’s Special Jury Award in 2023 for its vibrant black-and-white photography.

The 96th Academy Awards, in which the submission will compete if it is shortlisted, will be held on March 10, 2024.

The show will be broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on ABC and in over 200 countries across the world.

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