Elesin Oba (The King’s Horseman), a coproduction between Nigeria’s EbonyLife and streamer Netflix, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.
The period movie – an adaptation of a 1975 play titled Death & the King’s Horseman – will feature in the prestigious Special Presentation category, becoming the first Yoruba-language film to do so.
The news was announced by Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife, who took to Instagram to say: “EbonyLife Films and our coproduction partner Netflix are pleased to announce that Elesin Oba will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022.
“The original Death & the King’s Horseman was a stage play, written by Prof. Wole Soyinka, who won Africa’s first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. It is the first time that one of Soyinka’s works has been made into a feature film.
“To our amazing stars and crew, thank you all so much. To our partners Netflix, thank you for partnering with us once again, and to TIFF, thank you for selecting our work to be featured in your 2022 Special Presentation category.”
The film and the play it is based were inspired by a real-life incident that took place in Nigeria during the colonial era when the horseman of a Yoruba king was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities.
The screen adaptation was written and directed by Biyi Bandele. Its cast includes Odunlade Adekola, Shaffy Bello, Olawale ‘Brymo’ Olofooro, Deyemi Okanlawon, Omowunmi Dada and Jide Kosoko.
TIFF takes place in Toronto from September 8 to 18. The annual event attracts more than 480,000 people.