The coming-of-age drama debuts at Mist Harlem Saturday.
Ever since the official trailer for Afrofuturistic short film Ori Inu: In Search of Self debuted last year, Newark, New Jersey siblings Chelsea and Emann Odufu have been busy wrapping post-production, a Kickstarter campaign and doing plenty of speaking engagements at American universities such as Yale, Dartmouth, NYU and Columbia.
The coming-of-age drama’s NYC premiere at Mist Harlem Saturday evening will mark an indelible moment of triumph for the Guyanese-Nigerian American brother and sister team who hustled countless hours to make their imagining a concrete reality.
The short film tells the story of a young, immigrant woman—Natalia Diaz (Helen Beyene)—who is torn between assimilating to American culture or rediscovering her Afro-Brazilian roots through the Candomblé religion, first transported to Brazil by West African slaves in the 19th century.
“Natalia’s journey in search of self through spiritual and deep connections to her African ancestry is one that can be related to the journey of many African diasporic people,” Chelsea explains in her director’s statement.
Ori Inu: In Search of Self also stars Tony Award-winning actress Tonya Pinkins (of U.S. soap opera All My Children) and Newlyweds’ Trae Harris, and features performances from Yoruba-influenced, Brooklyn-based duo OSHUN (Thandiwe and Niambi Sala) and “Afropean” sisters Les Nubians (Hélène and Célia).