The Gotham Group has signed Nigerian filmmaker C.J. Obasi, whose latest feature Mami Wata is Nigeria’s entry for Best International Feature Oscar in the 96th Academy Awards.
Mami Wata world premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in its World Cinema – Dramatic section, where it won the cinematography prize.
Award-winning filmmaker Obasi’s previous credits include Ojuju (2014) and O-Town (2015), which screened at various festivals, including Gothenburg and Fantasia.His short film, Hello, Rain (2018) premiered at Oberhausen and over 40 festivals, winning a Jury Prize at Fantasia, and the BFI Short Film Award nomination. Juju Stories (2021), an anthology film directed by the Surreal1 Collective, won the Boccalino D’oro Award for Best Film at Locarno.
Set in a remote West African village, Mami Wata follows the villagers who worship the Mermaid-deity Mami Wata and look for guidance from their healer Mama Efe (Rita Edochie), her daughter Zinwe (Uzoamaka Aniunoh) and protégé Prisca (Evelyne Ily Juhen).
When a young boy is lost to a virus, the villagers’ faith in Efe’s powers as an intermediary between them and Mami Wata is shaken. The sudden arrival of a mysterious rebel deserter named Jasper (Emeka Amakeze), further enflames tensions.
Mami Wata was nominated for 12 African Film Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Film.
Dekanalog acquired North American rights in May to the film, which has also been acquired for Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Alief handles international sales rights.
Hollywood-based management and production company The Gotham Group recently produced Wendell & Wild at Netflix in collaboration with Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions and director Henry Selick, starring the voice talent of Key & Peele, Lyric Ross (This Is Us) and Angela Bassett.
Recent television productions include Washington Black, based on Esi Edugyan’s critically acclaimed novel with Selwyn Hinds adapting and Sterling K. Brown producing and starring for Hulu, Obasi is already repped by CAA.