Netflix and EbonyLife Film’s latest flick, ‘Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman’ is set to make its world premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this September.
The film which is an adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s tragic play ‘Death and the King’s Horseman,’ will feature at the festival’s Special Presentation category, 16 years after another Nigerian film inYoruba language, Tunde Kelani’s Abeni, made a similar outstanding outing at TIFF.
Directed by award-winning playwright and filmmaker, Biyi Bandele, the adaptation features Odunlade Adekola as the titular character as well as Shaffy Bello, Olawale ‘Brymo’ Olofooro, Deyemi Okanlawon, Omowunmi Dada, Jide Kosoko, Mark Elderkin, Jenny Stead, Langley Kirkwood, Kevin Ushi, Drikus Volschenk, Fares Boulos ‘Oyibo Rebel’ with special guest appearances by Nollywood’s prime actresses, Joke Silva and Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett.
The film is expected to be a screen representation of the Soyinka’s 1975 play set in an ancient Yoruba City, following English colonial officers who intervened to prevent the ritual suicide of the Elesin Oba after his king’s death.
The play earned Soyinka the prestigious Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986.
Announcing its TIFF premiere, EbonyLife’s Founder, Mo Abudu, wrote on Instagram: “EbonyLife Films and our co-production partners Netflix are pleased to announce that Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2022. Elesin Oba will feature in the prestigious Special Presentation category, the first Yoruba language film to do so.
“The original Death and 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. The screen adaptation was written and directed by Biyi Bandele.”
In its 47th year, TIFF will run from September 8 to 18. The 11 days of international and Canadian cinema will feature some of the biggest names in film, and TIFF’s Industry Conference, offering diverse and innovative perspectives on the art and business of film.
TCN reports that Kelani’s award-winning Abeni, which was set in Nigeria and Benin Republic had in 2006 made a great outing in Toronto at the Special Presentation section and competed for the festival’s prestigious Audience Choice award, in a year when Nigeria had its first pavilion ever at the festival courtesy of the Nigerian Film Corporation under the headship of Mr. Afolabi Adesanya.
TCN also recalls that Soyinka’s play – Kongi’s Harvest – written in 1965 was adapted into a film directed by Ossie Davies in 1970.