• Monday, April 15, 2024
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Disney Animation, Kugali new series “Iwájú” premieres in Lagos

Disney Animation, Kugali new series “Iwájú” premieres in Lagos

Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pan-African Entertainment Company Kugali’s all-new series “Iwájú” made its world premiere in Lagos, Nigeria, last night at the Filmhouse Cinemas IMAX Lekki 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 a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, the exciting coming-of-age story follows Tola (voice of Simisola Gbadamosi), a young girl from the wealthy island, and her best friend, Kole (voice of Siji Soetan), a self-taught tech expert, as they discover the secrets and dangers hidden in their different worlds. Kugali filmmakers take viewers on a unique journey into the world of “Iwájú,” bursting with unique 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.

“Iwájú” will air across Africa on Disney Channel—distributed on DStv platform (Channel 303)—this April and May, giving viewers across the continent an opportunity to view the series in territories where Disney+ is not available. “We created ‘Iwájú’ as a love letter to Lagos, Nigeria, and an ode to the rich legacy of African storytelling,” said Director Olufikayo Ziki Adeola. “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.”

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.”

Also releasing tomorrow is an all-new game inspired by the animated series. “Disney Iwájú: Rising Chef” will take players into the world of “Iwájú” and allow them to explore authentic African delicacies through this fast-paced and accessible cooking game that celebrates the culture and cuisine of Nigeria. Developed by Maliyo Games in collaboration with Disney and Kugali, “Iwájú: Rising Chef” will allow players to advance their culinary skills, become the best chef in Lagos, and take over the fanciest restaurant in town. “Iwájú: Rising Chef” will be available for iOS and Android on Feb. 28, to coincide with the debut of the Disney+ series.