Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman to Premiere at Toronto 

EbonyLife Films and co-producers Netflix are pleased to announce that Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman, would have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2022.

According to a statement yesterday, based on real-life events in Nigeria in 1943, Elesin Oba would feature in the prestigious special presentation category, the first Yoruba language film to do so.

“Set in the Oyo Empire, between sunset and sunrise, the King’s horseman, Elesin Oba, must commit ritual suicide to follow his deceased king into the afterlife.

“His best intentions are derailed by his sexual desires, which leads to catastrophic consequences and ends in a deadly clash with the British rulers of the day.

“The horseman is unable to fulfil his ultimate commitment to the king, leaving his spirit to roam the earth, spelling doom for the land and its people.

“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 Death and the King’s Horseman I has been made into a feature film. The screen adaptation was written and directed by Biyi Bandele,” it added.   

It further stated that the film stars Odunlade Adekola as Elesin Oba, Shaffy Bello as Iyaloja, and acclaimed musician Olawale ‘Brymo’ Olofooro as the Praise Singer, making his screen debut. They are joined by Deyemi Okanlawon, Omowunmi Dada, and veteran actors, Jide Kosoko and Kevin Ushi.

Also featured are Jenny Stead and Mark Elderkin as Jane and Simon Pilkings, Langley Kirkwood, and a special appearance by acting legend Taiwo Ajai-Lycett and Ajoke Silva.

Cameron Bailey, a Canadian film critic and CEO of TIFF, stated, “It was a pleasure to see Soyinka’s words and his mastery of tragic drama transformed into cinema. Odunlade Adekola gives a grand, impressive performance.”

On her part, CEO of the EbonyLife Group and executive producer of the film, Mo Abudu said, “In filming Elesin Oba, we chose to stay close to the original work, which is already well-known globally as a great example of African drama.

“It’s an honour to see this compelling introduction to African thought and tradition on screen. Its interweaving of European and Yoruba ideals to depict universal themes of cultural responsibility has never been more important than now.”

The World Premiere of Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman is scheduled for 10th September 2022 in Toronto, Canada.

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