Tunde Kelani, an accomplished Nigerian filmmaker, will showcase his most recent production, ‘Cordelia’, at the 30th New York African Film Festival on May 15th.
Starring Omowunmi Dada, William Benson, Yvonne Jegede, Keppy Ekpeyong, Kelechi Udegbe, Femi Adebayo, Taiwo Ibikunle, and Ropo Ewenla, the movie is an adaptation of a novella written by Professor Femi Osofisan.
Set in the early 1990s during a military regime, the plot of this period drama revolves around a university professor who gets unintentionally entangled in a military coup. One morning, while concerned about his wife’s unusual conduct, the professor finds himself visited by two inquisitive students. Among them is Cordelia Nwaeze Peters, daughter of army officer Colonel Nwaeze Peters, who has recently been linked to the coup.
The upheaval caused by the coup leads to widespread unrest, with students running amok and Cordelia’s life in peril. The professor decides to save Cordelia’s life and becomes further enmeshed in the national crisis.
Kelani, who regularly adapts literary works to film, gave a lengthy explanation in his directorial note to the film showing at Francesca Beale Theatre, New York.
He said, “The process of bringing Cordelia to life was a collaborative effort spanning different continents and cultures. I have always sought to promote cultural diversity in my movies and celebrate the rich heritage of Africa’s many cultures and languages. I was excited to collaborate with Professor James Anderson, the Director of Orchestral Activities at the University of Delaware and founder of the UD Cultural Fusion Initiative.”
“James’ innovative Cultural Fusion Initiative allowed us to collaborate across borders and cultures to create a unique film that celebrates our diverse backgrounds. Our collaboration on the Cultural Fusion Initiative was as dramatic as the story of ‘Cordelia’ itself”
“The collaboration involved two levels. The first level was in Nigeria, where ‘Cordelia’ was written by Prof. Femi Osofisan and adapted for the screen by me, with the help of a talented cast, crew, and a Nigerian composer, Michael Ogunlade. The second level took place at the University of Delaware in the US, where a premiere of ‘Cordelia’ happened. American student orchestras played the music score while the film was shown to a live audience. The project involved about seventy-five musicians, including student orchestrators and arrangers, a four-time Grammy-winning recording engineer, and the School of Music faculty members. The recorded and edited music was sent to us in Nigeria.”
“The project was complex and challenging, but the outcome was worth the effort. The collaboration brought a unique perspective to the film’s music score, resulting in a compelling and captivating narrative for the audience. ‘Cordelia’ is not just my film; it is our film. It is a product of collaboration with people from different cultures and backgrounds, united by a creative force without boundaries. This project suggests peaceand harmony in our world, and I am proud to have been part of it.”