Nigerian filmmaker and producer Kunle Afolayan’s new thriller movie Swallow will debut on streamer Netflix on October 1, Nigeria’s Independence Day.
Swallow is an adaptation of Nigerian-American writer Sefi Atta’s best-selling novel about a woman and her roommate in Lagos during the burgeoning drug trade of the 1980s and follows their struggles to survive under austerity measures and the so-called War Against Indiscipline.
This is the first film from Afolayan’s multi-title Netflix deal.
Afolayan posted on Instagram: “This is the very first book I am making into a movie. Once I read the book, I had to decide on what aspect of the book I wanted to focus on and whose perspective I wanted to share based on the story. Once that was sorted every other thing was put in place.”
The cast include musician Eniola ‘Niyola’ Akinbo, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Deyemi Okanlanwon, Eniola Badmus, Chioma Akpotha, Kevin Ikeduba, Offiong Anthony Edet and veteran Olusegun Remi.
Netflix and Nigerian movie producer and director Kunle Afolayan are working on three original titles that will be exclusive to the global streamer.
The content includes a period drama adapted from Nigerian-American writer Sefi Atta’s 2010 novel Swallow. It focuses on a naive secretary who, after a series of career woes, considers her roommate’s offer to work as a drug mule in mid-1980s Lagos.
The other titles being developed under the Netflix-Afolayan alliance are a folklore fantasy and a character-based drama that deals with dementia while mixing in some African spirituality.
Sharing the news on Instagram, Afolayan said: “The subject matter of the movie Swallow affects everyone globally and, if we take it from Nigeria’s point of view, it’s a peculiar story which is authentic to Africa. We are already in post-production and have filmed 95% of it.”
The cast for Swallow includes Eniola Akinbo (aka Niyola), Deyemi Okanlawon, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha, Kunle Idowu (aka Frank Donga), Omotunde Adebowale (aka Lolo), Offiong Anthony (aka Thin Tall Tony), Oreofe Lawal, Eniola Badmus and Mercy Aigbe.
Netflix’s director of content in Africa, Ben Amadasun, added: “We want to keep entertaining the world with great stories and we believe great stories can come from anywhere – Nigeria being one of those markets where we have a very prolific film industry, thus making it the focus market.
“It’s been five years since Netflix launched in Nigeria. Since then, we’ve been able to add a wide variety of Nollywood films and series, and build strong relationships with local creators like Kunle Afolayan.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding to bring his classics like The CEO, October 1, The Figurine and, most recently, Citation to our members around the world and shine a light on Nigerian culture, history, fashion, music, food and languages through his films. It’s been an honour to have some of Kunle’s works on the platform for our members to enjoy.”