“Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman,” produced by EbonyLife Films and Netflix, will make its international debut at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2022. “Elesin Oba,” based on true events in Nigeria in 1943, will be the first Yoruba language film to be included in the coveted special presentation category.
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.
Mo Abudu, CEO of the EbonyLife Group and executive producer of the film, 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.”
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.
Watch the trailer below:
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 a cinema. Odunlade Adekola gives a grand, impressive performance.”
The 47th Toronto International Film Festival will take place from September 8 to 18. The World Premiere of “Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman” is scheduled for September 10, 2022, in Toronto, Canada.
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.