Walt Disney Animation Studios, in collaboration with Pan-African entertainment company Kugali, is set to unveil the six-part animated series “Iwájú” exclusively on Disney+ starting February 28, 2024. Accompanying the release is the behind-the-scenes documentary “Iwájú: A Day Ahead,” produced by ABC News Studios and Disney Animation, providing viewers with insights into the creative journey behind this groundbreaking project.
“Iwájú” offers a fresh narrative set in a futuristic Lagos, Nigeria, bringing together elements of African culture and technological advancements. The captivating coming-of-age story revolves around Tola, a young girl from a prosperous island, and her best friend Kole, a self-taught tech expert. Together, they embark on a journey that unravels the secrets and dangers concealed in their contrasting worlds.
Directed by Olufikayo Ziki Adeola, with production design by Hamid Ibrahim and cultural consultation by Toluwalakin Olowofoyeku, “Iwájú” promises a unique visual experience inspired by the vibrant spirit of Lagos. The series, produced by Disney Animation’s Christina Chen, features a stellar cast including Simisola Gbadamosi, Dayo Okeniyi, Femi Branch, Siji Soetan, and Weruche Opia.
Gbadamosi voices Tola, a curious and opinionated girl who’s eager to learn more about the world around her. Tola’s best friend, Kole is voiced by Soetan. Opia on the other hand is a high-tech robotic pet lizard with powerful capabilities, referred to as Otin.
Shaffy Bello, Obi Maduegbuna, Kehinde Bankole, Chioma Omeruah, Bisola Ayeiola and Tosin Oshinaike also lend their voice with the inclusion of Lala Akindoju who doubles as the casting director.
A notable aspect of “Iwájú” is its international release strategy. While the series premieres on February 28 in the United States, details about the release timing and distribution platform for select regions, including Nigeria, will be announced shortly.
Accompanying the series launch is the documentary “Iwájú: A Day Ahead,” set to debut on Disney+ on the same day. The documentary, filmed across three continents, shares the inspiring story of Kugali, the Pan-African entertainment company that turned their dream into reality by collaborating with Walt Disney Animation Studios. Directed by Megan Harding and executive produced by Amy Astley and Beth Hoppe, the documentary sheds light on the creative process and the boundless possibilities when talent converges with opportunity.
Olufikayo Ziki Adeola expressed his excitement about the project, stating, “Crafting the narrative of ‘Iwájú’ has been a journey of creative alchemy, blending the rich cultural tapestry of Lagos with imaginative leaps into the future. Collaborating with my Kugali co-founders and the visionary artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios has been nothing short of magical. The heartbeat of my hometown resonates through every scene, and I am thrilled for the world to experience this unique fusion of tradition and futurism.”
“Iwájú” and its accompanying documentary offer a fresh narrative rooted in African culture and technological innovation. Disney+ subscribers can anticipate an immersive experience as they delve into the vibrant world of “Iwájú” starting February 28, 2024.