Last year’s Netflix campaign about telling African stories featured renowned actors and filmmakers from across the continent in an inspiring montage. One of those filmmakers was Kunle Afolayan, who needs no introduction. With his latest film Citation about sexual harassment in universities premiering last year, and a pre-existing stock of his films (Phone Swap, Figurine, October 1, Mokalik etc) since acquired by the streamer, Afolayan in 2021 is doubling down in his partnership with Netflix with the announcement of three original content titles – a character drama, historical drama and folklore fantasy.
These are diverse genres that are familiar terrain to the director. One is already currently being filmed, an adaptation of the book Swallow by author, screenwriter and playwright Sefi Atta, released in 2008.
Swallow is set in 80’s Lagos against the backdrop of economic hardship austerity measures, forcing Tolani, a bank secretary, to be persuaded by her roommate Rose to consider drug trafficking as a way to make a living. The news of the adaptation was shared by Ben Amadasun, Netflix’s director of content (Africa division), in live chat with Afolayan yesterday.
Thankfully, we’ve been provided with glimpses of the film, including the cast: erstwhile singer Niyola who plays the lead role of Tolani, Deyemi Okanlawon, Ijeoma Grace Agu, Chioma Chukwuka Akpotha, Mercy Aigbe, Frank Donga, Omotunde Adebowale (Lolo), Offiong Anthony (Thin Tall Tony and a host of others. No release date has been announced yet.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies and reading comics and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.