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Disney animation/Kugali new series Iwájú premieres to global audience in Lagos

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Cinema Audience from Premiere Event

Filmmakers Olufikayo Ziki Adeola (director), Hamid Ibrahim (production designer), Tolu Olowofoyeku (cultural consultant) and Ré Olunuga (music by) were joined by special industry guests and celebrities, including members the voice cast: Ireti Doyle (voice of Mrs. Usman), Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah (voice of Chioma), Kehinde Bankole (voice of Mama Kole), Bisola Aiyeola (voice of Happiness), Femi Branch (voice of Bode DeSousa), Simisola Gbadamosi (voice of Tola Martins), Toyin Oshinaike (voice of Godspower), and Obi Maduegbuna (a voice of Hawkers & Lackeys).

Set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, the exciting coming-of-age story follows Tola (voice of Simisola Gbadamosi), a young girl from the wealthy island, and her best friend, Kole (voice of Siji Soetan), a self-taught tech expert, as they discover the secrets and dangers hidden in their different worlds.

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Kugali filmmakers take viewers on a unique journey into the world of “Iwájú,” bursting with unique visual elements and technological advancements inspired by the spirit of Lagos.

Produced by Disney Animation’s Christina Chen with a screenplay by Adeola and Halima Hudson, “Iwájú” also features the voices of Dayo Okeniyi, Shaffy Bello and Weruche Opia.

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“Iwájú” will air across Africa on Disney Channel—distributed on DStv platform (Channel 303)—this April and May, giving viewers across the continent an opportunity to view the series in territories where Disney+ is not available.

“We created ‘Iwájú’ as a love letter to Lagos, Nigeria, and an ode to the rich legacy of African storytelling,” said Director Olufikayo Ziki Adeola. “We’re proud to share this series and hope that it inspires more Africans across the world to share their stories and shape our collective narrative.”

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The series’ authentic African-influenced music is by renowned Nigerian composer Ré Olunuga, whose credits include music for the 2022 Disney+ original movie “Rise” and the BBC film “Girl.”

“I rarely bring my own emotions into writing a score,” he said. “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.

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"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.”

Also releasing tomorrow is an all-new game inspired by the animated series. “Disney Iwájú: Rising Chef” will take players into the world of “Iwájú” and allow them to explore authentic African delicacies through this fast-paced and accessible cooking game that celebrates the culture and cuisine of Nigeria.

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Developed by Maliyo Games in collaboration with Disney and Kugali, “Iwájú: Rising Chef” will allow players to advance their culinary skills, become the best chef in Lagos, and take over the fanciest restaurant in town.

“Iwájú: Rising Chef” will be available for iOS and Android on Feb. 28, to coincide with the debut of the Disney+ series.

X: @DisneyPlusZA

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Hashtag: #IWAJU

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.

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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.”

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.

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Among the studio's timeless creations are Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Frozen, Zootopia and Encanto.

ABC News Studios, inspired by ABC News’ trusted reporting, is an award-winning, premium news and documentary original production house and commissioning partner of series and specials.

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ABC News Studios champions untold and authentic stories driving the cultural zeitgeist spanning true-crime, investigations, pop culture and news-adjacent stories. ABC News Studios’ original titles include critically acclaimed documentaries “Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields,” “Sound of the Police,” “The Lady Bird Diaries” and “Aftershock,” and popular docu-series and documentaries, including “Killing County,” “Wild Crime,” “Mormon No More,” “The Randall Scandal: Love, Loathing, and Vanderpump” and “Jelly Roll: Save Me.”

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.

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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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