Comatose to take over Africa's film Industry

BY: Eugene Selorm Owusu

South Africa-based production company, 1Take Media, has begun production on Comatose, a dramatic Afro-futurism feature film which explores an African perspective on the euthanasia debate. It is set to be released early next year.

The movie, with a pan-African cast, stars award winning actors such as  Fabian Adeoye Lojede  of Mnet Jacob’s Cross, October 1 and Man On Ground fame as Segun; French noir favourite Aissa Maiga (Mood Indigo, Hidden Cache and Paris Je T’aime) as Nandi; and Hollywood's Hakeem Kae Kazim (Black Sails, 24, Hotel Rwanda, Gotham/Pirates of the Carribean and Man on Ground) as Dr. Kalu.

The rest of the cast are South African veteran, Mary Twala (Sarafina, Taxi To Soweto, The No1 Ladies Detective Agency) as Nana; Nigeria's Bimbo Akintola (Smoke And Mirrors, Beyond The Verdict 2, Out Of Bounds) as Omowunmi; Robert Whitehead (Isidingo, Diamond Hunters, Shaka Zulu) as Dr. Collins; and Deborah Lettner (Angel Of The Skies, Casting Me, Beaver Falls) as Michelle.

Directed by South African award winning film/TV and commercials director, Mickey Madoda Dube, the production is set to begin in Durban (South Africa), and then continue in the West African country of Nigeria.

The film is an adaptation of a play written by prolific Canadian-Nigerian writer, Jude Idada.

Comatose follows two siblings Segun (Fabian Adeoye Lojede) and Omowunmi (Bimbo Akintola) as they battle over the life of their ailing mother, Nana (Mary Twala), who is in a coma. One wants to pull the plug; the other wants to keep her alive. One resides in Lagos, Nigeria and the other in California, United States.

In a battle of wills, dark family secrets come to light, relationships are shattered, and the true meaning of love is revealed. 

The argument about whether to pull or not to pull the plug has raged on for decades globally, and Comatose teases out the African perspective on the growing modern day euthanasia debate.

The film brings out many different sides to this complex issue. Fabian Adeoye Lojede, who co-wrote the script and is also co-producing with Mickey, said, “This is going to be the most challenging role I’ve ever played. The film has so many layers: visual and narrative.”

Director/co-producer, Mickey Madola Dube said of Comatose: “I want to make a film so rich and layered, yet moving and mysterious all at once, throbbing with the energy and talent at our disposal, tackling an issue that is universal, but spoken through our voice, our soul, while taking the world on this journey towards a humanity that speaks to us all as one – in life, and in death, not in a limbo, a world neither here nor there. 

As one person who woke up from a coma stated: ‘life is life, but death is merely a changing room.’”

The production is funded by the South African Department of Trade and Industry, the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF), and the KwaZulu-Natal Film Commission and 1Take Media.

The flick, when ready for the film market, will be premiered across Africa and the rest of the world. 

The producers hope Comatose would become one of the best and top-flight pan-African cinematic productions ever.