Canadian Premiere
Camera Lucida

Mami Wata

Directed by C.J. "Fiery" Obasi


Official selection

Special Jury Award for Cinematography - Sundance Film Festival 2023
Vieyra's African Critics Award - FESPACO 2023
Seattle International Film Festival 2023


Sundance Film Festival (2023) - Special Jury Award for Cinematography

FESPACO, Best Image

FESPACO, Best Decor

FESPACO, Paulin Soumanou Vieyra's African Critics Award


C.J. Obasi


Oge Obasi


C.J. Obasi


Emeka Amakeze, Uzoamaka Aniunoh, Rita Edochie, Evelyne Ily, Kelechi Udegbe


Lilis Soares

Sound Designer

Samy Bardet


Tunde Jegede


Nathan Delannoy


Fiery Film Company Ltd

United Kingdom, France, Nigeria 2023 107 mins OV Fon/English Subtitles : English
Genre DramaThrillerFantasy

“Recasts familiar stories in newly energizing ways and experiments visually with black, white and the grays between them”

"Through the use of a fable structure, Obasi deftly weaves heavy political, philosophical, and theological ideas together with his keen eye for striking imagery to craft a film that feels both classical and futuristic”
– Mayra E. Gates, ROGEREBERT.COM

"Dream-like and gorgeously atmospheric... Offers a fresh and fascinating new story about the water goddess of African folklore”
- Carla Hay, CULTURE MIX

The spirit of the water, Mami Wata, or “Mother Water,” is a deity worshipped in West, Central and Southern Africa and the African diaspora globally. Appearing often with a mermaid’s tail or a snake, she’s tied to good fortune, healing, and sensuality but can also be a force of destruction. With many iterations through the centuries, Nigeria’s C.J. “Fiery” Obasi conjures her in his not-to-be-missed MAMI WATA.

Obasi’s debut zombie romp OJUJU played Fantasia in 2015, and in 2023, he graces Montreal again as a singular visionary. With striking black and white cinematography that captures the beauty of Black skin by award-winning Brazilian DP Lílis Soares, the crisp moody images tell the struggles of a seaside village secluded from the modern world. Mama Efe (Rita Edochie), the unwavering village matriarch and intermediary to the deity Mami Wata, leads the community of Iyi. Her daughter Zinwe (Uzoamaka Aniunoh) is due to be the next in power. She thinks her mother is too mired in tradition, and she vows to go beyond worshipping an unseen goddess to help the villagers. Prisca (Evelyne Ily), Zinwe’s sister, is annoyed with Zinwe’s ambitions but sees the merit in moving forward, and the villagers themselves are wary of Mama Efe’s archaic rule. When a mysterious man named Jasper (Emeka Amakeze) washes ashore, he’s the catalyst for change but at a dire cost to Iyi and its people.

Garnering accolades and awards at Sundance and beyond, MAMI WATA is rich with pageantry, recentering the conversation around African diasporic folklore. Filmed in the Mono Department, Benin, West Africa, the story straddles the past and present, steeped in the complexities of intergenerational struggles for power. As a unique cinematic experience, Obasi’s new vision of African cinema combines Shakespearian drama, English and the Fon language, and a trio of remarkable women. – Carolyn Mauricette