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New Trailer for African Inspired Animated Series ‘Iwájú’ from Disney and Kugali

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The futuristic African inspired series, Iwájú, is almost here and Disney released a new trailer and key art today. Set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, the original series is a coming-of-age story about a young girl, Talo (voiced by Simisola Gbadamosi), and her best friend Kole (voiced by Siji Soetan), who explore their differing backgrounds and discover surprising secrets around them.

Iwájú is a first of its kind collaboration between Disney Animation and Kugali, a Pan-African comic book entertainment company created by Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, Hamid Ibrahim and Toluwalakin Olowofoyeku. The fact that Disney Animation was even open to partnering with another company, let alone an independent company, is groundbreaking. You just know that they see something very special in Kugali.

Now that the full trailer is out, that something special is clear. The art and animation are stunningly beautiful, giving the trailer an almost 3D feel. The characters and scenes look like they are popping out of the screen, and I can only imagine how gorgeous the actual series will look.

Adeola directed the series, with Ibrahim serving as production designer and Olowofoyeku as cultural consultant. Disney Animation’s Christina Chen produced, with a screenplay by Adeola and Halima Hudson. Iwájú also features the voices of Dayo Okeniyi, Femi Branch and Weruche Opia. 

Iwájú Official Trailer

But just in case you thought Iwájú was a one and done deal, Disney also announced that the series soundtrack will be releasing digitally on March 1st, and a mobile game based on the series will be coming on February 28th.

The music for Iwájú is composed by renowned Nigerian artist Ré Olunuga, who also worked on the music for the Disney+ film Rise, based on the life of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the BBC’s Girl.

“I rarely bring my own emotions into writing a score,” Olunuga said in a press release. “I tend to inhabit the emotions of the characters or subjects and then translate them into music. In this case, it couldn’t be avoided. In addition to Tola’s adventurous spirit, Kole’s ingenuity and the many other fun and beautiful emotional threads explored in Iwájú—the score is steeped in my own very deep love for Lagos and its multiplicitous layers. It also includes many treats and winks for anyone familiar with or curious about the film music lexicon of Nollywood. Being invited by Ziki and the amazing teams at Disney and Kugali to help tell this beautiful coming-of-age story that explores themes of family, friendship and ingenuity has been an amazing adventure in itself.”

The mobile game, Disney Iwájú: Rising Chef, is developed by Maliyo Games, in collaboration with Disney and Kugali. In the game, fans will have a chance to test their virtual culinary skills and explore authentic African delicacies as they strive to become the best chef in Lagos. Iwájú: Rising Chef will be available on iOS and Android.

Between the soundtrack, mobile game and the official Disney merchandise already on sale at Shop Disney, it’s truly exciting to see how much support Disney Animation is giving this series.

All episodes of Iwájú release together February 28th on Disney+.

Iwájú Key Art
Iwájú Key Art

About Kugali
With authenticity and creativity at its heart, Kugali is an African-owned and operated storytelling collective spearheading Africa’s modern emergence into the AAA media landscape. Founded in 2017 by Tolu Olowofoyeku, Olufikayo Adeola and Hamid Ibrahim with the purpose of taking African stories to the world, Kugali Media has attracted recognition from companies like Disney and the BBC, as well as paved the way for a generation of new African storytellers to find their voices in graphic novels. Their most notable achievements include record-breaking crowdfunding campaigns, a slew of award-winning graphic novels and their upcoming Disney+ series in collaboration with Disney Animation, “Iwájú.” For more information, contact@kugali.com

About Walt Disney Animation Studios
Combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology, Walt Disney Animation Studios is a filmmaker-driven animation studio responsible for creating some of the most beloved films ever made. Disney Animation continues to build on its rich legacy of innovation and creativity, including the first fully-animated feature film, 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and 2019’s “Frozen 2,” the biggest animated film of all time. Among the studio’s timeless creations are “Pinocchio,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Frozen,” “Zootopia” and “Encanto.” About Disney+Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic, along with The Simpsons and much more. In select international markets, it also includes the general entertainment content brand, Star, and in the U.S., Disney Bundle subscribers can also access extensive Hulu content, including next day TV and Hulu Original titles, on Disney+. The flagship direct-to-consumer streaming service from The Walt Disney Company, Disney+ offers an ever-growing collection of exclusive originals, including feature-length films, documentaries, live-action and animated series, and short-form content. With unprecedented access to Disney’s long history of incredible film and television entertainment, Disney+ is also the exclusive streaming home for the newest releases from The Walt Disney Studios. Disney+ is available as a standalone streaming service, as part of the Disney Bundle in the U.S. that gives subscribers access to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, or as part of Combo+ in Latin America with Star+, the standalone general entertainment and sports streaming service in the region. For more, visit disneyplus.com, or find the Disney+ app on most mobile and connected TV devices.

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Ron is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of POC Culture.  He is a big believer in the power and impact of pop culture and the importance of representation in media.

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