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Nigeria’s ‘Mami Wata’ Selected for 96th Academy Awards in International Feature Film Category

‘Mami Wata’ as its entry for the International Feature Film (IFF) category at the 96th Academy Awards. C.J. Obasi, the director of the movie, explores and reimagines the mythological mermaid-deity from West African folklore, celebrating womanhood and addressing various themes.

The Nigerian Official Section Committee (NOSC) responsible for the IFF selection commended ‘Mami Wata’ for its relevant themes, focusing on the pivotal role of women in society, its unique narrative approach to pre and post-colonial African societies, and its remarkable technical and artistic quality.

Prominent figures, including Stephanie Linus, a renowned actress and Chairperson of NOSC; Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC); Dr. Victor Okhai, President of the Directors’ Guild of Nigeria (DGN); Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, a veteran actress; and Mr. Andy Amenechi, former President of DGN, among others, make up the NOSC.

Stephanie Linus expressed excitement about submitting Nigeria’s first Pidgin film to the Academy, emphasizing the importance of diversity and global representation in filmmaking. She encouraged filmmakers to continually enhance their skills and strive for global production standards.

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Following the committee’s decision, ‘Mami Wata’ has advanced in the Oscars race, as it received the highest number of votes from the 14-member panel. The IFF Executive Committee will determine the next steps for the film.

Set against the backdrop of the Republic of Benin, ‘Mami Wata’ unfolds the story of a coastal community forced to confront their long-held beliefs when a stranger washes ashore, disrupting their harmony.

Critics acclaimed the film for its vivid black-and-white cinematography, and it secured the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2023.

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The 96th Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday, March 10, 2024, and will air live on ABC and in over 200 territories worldwide from the Dolby Theatre at Ovation, Hollywood.”

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