Two Oscar-winning short films that push the boundaries of African cinema – The Hollywood Reporter

In Your perfect life, Onajite Johnson-Ibrahim (played by Pearl Those) seems to have it all. She’s a 39-year-old entrepreneur with the perfect Instagram profile – a fantastic career, a loving husband (played by Ahmed Ibrahim) and two smart and beautiful children – but Onajite secretly suffers from depression. She thinks about suicide.

Iyawo Mi (My Wife) tells the story of Eniola (Lateef Adedimeji). Economically, she is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Onajite and lives in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Lagos. Her husband Kunle (Segun Arinze) works as a driver. One night he returns home to find his wife in the grip of madness, hallucinating, screaming at their children and threatening to kill them. With little understanding of mental illness and no access to a support system, he decides to take matters into his own hands – with tragic consequences.

These are two stories of women on the brink.

Both films, directed by Nigerian producer and media mogul Mo Abudu in his first directorial efforts, have qualified for the Oscar race after attracting widespread interest at festivals. They debuted at Cannes’ Short Film Corner and were screened at the Toronto Film Festival, the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, the HollyShorts Film Festival and the Rhode Island Film Festival.

“Your Perfect Life”

Mo Abudu Films

Besides their dramatic appeal Your perfect life And Iyawo Mi (My Wife) break new ground for African cinema in exploring mental health, particularly among women, and explore topics rarely discussed in the media or popular culture.

“For years, I have sought to highlight African stories and amplify voices that deserve to be heard on a global stage,” says Abudu. “African storytelling is not just limited to our borders; It is a universal language that resonates with human experience worldwide. Your perfect life And Iyawo Mi were born out of an intrinsic need to explore social nuances and uncover the layers of our existence. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Lagos, these stories explore complex emotions and the intricacies of human relationships. Through these short films, I experienced the immense power of narrative to connect cultures. They have honored prestigious platforms not only for their awards, but also to stimulate conversations, challenge perceptions and provide insight into often overlooked narratives.”

Abudu is already an established media mogul, in Africa and beyond. This year she did it The Hollywood Reporteris the annual list of the most powerful women in global entertainment. Her company, EbonyLife Media, is one of the continent’s largest and most important production companies and producer of Nigerian box office hits such as Fifty And The wedding partyand the Netflix series Blood sisters. Upcoming projects include the political drama series WAR: Wrath and Revenge And Òlòtūréabout a courageous investigative journalist, both for Netflix and for several films and series in development in collaboration with Westbrooke, Will Packer Productions, Universal Studios, the BBC, Sony Pictures Television, Starz, Lionsgate and Idris Elba’s Green Door Pictures were created.

Your perfect life And Iyawo Mi (My Wife) were produced under the Mo Abudu Films label, which aims to expand the scope of Nigerian cinema by making “more personal and intimate” films that represent “the voices and perspectives of underrepresented communities.”

“As an African woman and storyteller, I am committed to shaping a narrative landscape where our stories are not only seen but celebrated – where the authenticity and depth of African storytelling find a place in the global canon,” says Abudu. “The world is hungry for diverse stories, and it is time to showcase the richness of our narratives, amplify African voices and create a more inclusive narrative mosaic on the world stage.”

Participation in the Oscar race is “proof of the universal resonance” of the stories in Your perfect life And Iyawo Mi (My Wife) Says Abudu. “We are impressed by the thoughtfulness of Oscar voters. It’s an honor to be a part of it and we hope for the best as we look forward to seeing these stories resonate with audiences around the world.”

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