EbonyLife film’s latest title ‘Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman’ is set to make its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.
The original “Death and the King’s Horseman” was a play written by Wole Soyinka, and this is the first time that one of his literary works will be adapted for the big screen at the festival’s Special Presentation category, making it the first Yoruba language film to hit the milestone.
The EbonyLife Films and Netflix collaboration film is based on true events in Nigeria set in 1943. Mo Abudu, CEO of the EbonyLife Group and executive producer of the film, said the film is a true adaptation of the original story.
“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,” she said.
Mo Abudu added that the ‘Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman’ will be the first Yoruba language film to feature in the prestigious Special Presentation category at Toronto International Film Festival.
“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,” Abudu added.
The movie ‘Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman’ is written and directed by Biyi Bandele, the film stars Odunlade Adekola as Elesin Oba, Shaffy Bello as Iyaloja, and acclaimed musician Brymo 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.
The synopsis read: “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.”