“The King’s Horseman” becomes first Yoruba movie to premiere at Toronto festival

“Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman” Netflix’s adaptation of Professor Wole Soyinka’s stage play, will be the first Yoruba language film ever to premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2022.

The historical drama, written and directed by Biyi Bandele and produced by EbonyLife films is based on “Death and The King’s Horseman” a play by Professor Wole Soyinka, which was originally published in 1975.

The Toronto International Film Festival is one of the largest publicly attended film festivals in the world, attracting over 480,000 people annually.

It was founded in 1976 and has grown to become a permanent destination for film culture operating out of the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

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According to EbonyLife Group’s CEO, Mo Abudu, this is the first time any of Prof. Soyinka’s works, which won Africa’s first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, will be adapted for a feature film.

“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.

“It’s an interweaving of European and Yoruba ideals to depict universal themes of cultural responsibility has never been more important than now” she added.

The movie stars Odunlade Adekola ‘Elesin Oba’ as the lead actor, with Shaffy Bello as ‘Iyaloja’, Olawale “Brymo” Oloforo as ‘Praise Singer’, Deyemi Okanlawon, Omowumi Dada, and Jide Kosoko completing the top casts.

Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO said, “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.”

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