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This gorgeous short about a West African superheroine is a taste of the future
Nigerian filmmaker Nosa Igbinedion has given us a female superhero to be reckoned with.
With the growing conversation about the need for diverse comics and representation in superhero films, it’s refreshing to see an authentic, innovative take on the genre from a West African filmmaker getting lots of love online.
Oya: Rise of the Orisas (sometimes styled Orixa or Orishas) is a short film from Nigerian writer and director Nosa Igbinedion featuring an all-black cast and a really cool concept: the Orixa, traditional gods of West African Yoruban folklore, have returned to the modern-day world as badass superheroes. Think Percy Jackson but with West African roots instead of Greece.
The 12-minute short film sees Mother Oya, the god of the hurricane, inhabiting a follower and coming to the rescue of a kidnapped student, an eerie echo of real life:
The film has already been screened at film fests worldwide, and production of a feature-length version is planned to begin later this month in Brazil. Additionally, Igbinedion’s film studio is releasing a comic book series further exploring the world of Oya, available for pre-order:
The studio also recently announced plans to shoot a webseries accompanying the story: Yemoja: Rise of the Orisha. On Facebook alone, the Oya series has garnered 15,000 Likes so far—not bad for a debut superhero.
Clearly the Afrofuturism of Black Panther and increasing interest in the African comics scene aren’t isolated phenomenons. And as OK Africa notes, Oya follows the post-apocalyptic Ethiopian film Crumbs, released earlier this year, in the trend of African science-fiction filmmaking:
Fans wanting to follow the continued exploits of the Orixa can follow the project on Twitter or Facebook.
Screengrab via Vimeo
Aja Romano is a geek culture reporter and fandom expert. Their reporting at the Daily Dot covered everything from Harry Potter and anime to Tumblr and Gamergate. Romano joined Vox as a staff reporter in 2016.