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Journey through ‘Iwájú’: From Premiere to Digital Adventures

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Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pan-African Entertainment Company Kugali’s all-new series “Iwájú” had its world premiere last night at the Filmhouse Cinemas IMAX Lekki in Lagos, Nigeria, ahead of today’s Disney+ launch of all six episodes.

Filmmakers Olufikayo Ziki Adeola (director), Hamid Ibrahim (production designer), Tolu Olowofoyeku (cultural consultant), and Ré Olunuga (music by) were joined by special industry guests and celebrities, including members of the voice cast: Ireti Doyle (voice of Mrs. Usman), Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah (voice of Chioma), Kehinde Bankole (voice of Mama Kole), Bisola Aiyeola (voice of Happiness), Femi Branch (voice of Bode DeSousa), Simisola Gbadamosi (voice of Tola Martins), Toyin Oshinaike (voice of Godspower), and Obi Maduegbuna (a voice of Hawkers & Lackeys).

Set in futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, this exciting coming-of-age story follows Tola (voiced by Simisola Gbadamosi), a young girl from the wealthy island, and her best friend, Kole (voiced by Siji Soetan), a self-taught tech expert. Together, they discover the secrets and dangers hidden in their different worlds.

Kugali filmmakers take viewers on a unique journey into the world of “Iwájú,” filled with distinctive visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos. Produced by Disney Animation’s Christina Chen, with a screenplay by Adeola and Halima Hudson, “Iwájú” also features the voices of Dayo Okeniyi, Shaffy Belo, and Weruche Opia.

Series distribution secured in Africa

Iwájú” will be airing on Disney Channel across Africa—distributed on the DStv platform (Channel 303)—this April and May. This provides viewers across the continent with an opportunity to enjoy the series in territories where Disney+ is not available. Director Olufikayo Ziki Adeola expressed,

We created ‘Iwájú’ as a love letter to Lagos, Nigeria, and an ode to the rich legacy of African storytelling. We’re proud to share this series and hope that it inspires more Africans across the world to share their stories and shape our collective narrative.

Soundtrack available digitally March 1

The series’ authentic African-influenced music is by renowned Nigerian composer Ré Olunuga, whose credits include music for the 2022 Disney+ original movie “Rise” and the BBC film “Girl.”

I rarely bring my own emotions into writing a score, he said.

I tend to inhabit the emotions of the characters or subjects and then translate them into music. In this case, it couldn’t be avoided. In addition to Tola’s adventurous spirit, Kole’s ingenuity and the many other fun and beautiful emotional threads explored in ‘Iwájú’—the score is steeped in my own very deep love for Lagos and its multiplicitous layers.

It also includes many treats and winks for anyone familiar with or curious about the film music lexicon of Nollywood. Being invited by Ziki and the amazing teams at Disney and Kugali to help tell this beautiful coming-of-age story that explores themes of family, friendship and ingenuity has been an amazing adventure in itself.

Disney Iwájú: Rising Chef” game available Feb. 28

Launching soon is an exciting new game inspired by the animated series. ‘Disney Iwájú: Rising Chef‘ immerses players in the vibrant world of ‘Iwájú,’ offering a fast-paced and accessible cooking experience that celebrates the culture and cuisine of Nigeria.

Developed by Maliyo Games in collaboration with Disney and Kugali, this game invites players to explore authentic African delicacies, enhance their culinary skills, strive to become the best chef in Lagos, and ultimately take control of the fanciest restaurant in town. ‘Iwájú: Rising Chef’ is set to be available for iOS and Android on Feb. 28, coinciding with the debut of the Disney+ series.

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