Monday, July 21, 2014

IYORE: The Return; A Life After Life - New Movie That Explores Culture and Reincarnation

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Rita Dominic and Joseph Benjamin as the lovers, 'Osarugwe' and 'Prince Azuwa', from the Frank Rajah film, IYORE #comingsoon

Iyore is a new movie by Frank Rajah Arase and co produced by Kwame Boadu for Raj and Heroes films productions 2014.  Iyore, literally meaning “The Return; A Life After Life” is based on the history and culture of the people of Benin, Nigeria, where Frank Rajah comes from.

It is a mythical tale set around the ancient Benin Kingdom and tells a story about life after life. The epic feature is a mixture of historical facts and fiction. It explores a tragic love story centred on the rich culture of pre-colonial Benin through to the present day of Benin whilst exploring the supernatural ideas of reincarnation.

Shot in Nigeria, it stars popular names as Rita Dominic, Joseph Benjamin, Okawa Shaznay, Paul Obazele, Yemi Blaq and Bukky Wright among others who played various roles in the movie. Frank Rajah has said it is the best film he has produced and directed so far.


“The story of Iyore was born out of the keen interest in telling an African tale with a rich cultural background and as a son of the soil of the great Benin Kingdom I sure will leave no stone unturned. A thorough research was made on the tradition and customs of my people; I worked through days and nights in creating the storyline of ‘Iyore’. It wasn’t an easy task but being my very first movie to be filmed on the ground and soil of my birth, I had to put in an extra effort to make sure this movie is rated best out of my best and multiple award-winning movies” Frank stated.

The movie will be premiering simultaneously in major cinemas on the African continent very soon.

Check out the movie posters and some location shots below. Also read the synopsis and director's commentary.












IYORE: Synopsis

The history of mankind has always been defined by men and women who changed the course of history and in their deed; the course of mankind. IYORE tells the story of a life after life… a circle that we live not remembering who we were in the world before… a mythical tale set around the ancient city of Benin kingdom… Edo state of Nigeria… This epic feature is a mixture of historical facts and fiction. It explores a tragic love story centered on the rich culture of pre-colonial Benin through to the present day of Benin whilst exploring the supernatural ideas of Reincarnation.

When School Teacher Osarugwe (Rita Dominic) begins to teach her class about the historical tales and conquests of the Benin Empire, she opens up the door to a love story surrounding one of the three sacred virgins of the great Benin, Amenze (Okawa Shaznay) and Edosa (Desmond Walter). Amenze, a virgin maiden whose fate is to be buried alive with the King once he has died is holding a secret that could destroy her and the sacred traditions of the Kingdom forever. In order to avoid the mortification, she escapes the Kingdom along with her lover Edosa. Their escape causes an uproar, which leads to a series of battles between kingdoms and kings.

As the story evolves, Osarugwe herself is going through her own personal battles when her childhood love Prince Azuwa (Joseph Benjamin) resurfaces to profess his undying love for her. Confused due to the fact that she is now a married woman, Osarugwe is caught up in an inner battle of what is right and wrong. Osarugwe’s story is so vividly reminiscent of the story she tells her students in school, that the idea of reincarnation becomes so prevalent.

They say the soul of man is immortal, and will be refreshed again in another life. This magical tale is sure to bring out the scents and sites of old time Benin whilst exploring the beauty of forbidden love and the idea of reincarnations. A film directed by Frank Rajah Arase and co produced by Kwame Boadu for Raj and Heroes films productions 2014.

Director’s Statement

The story of IYORE was born out of the keen interest in telling an African tale with a rich cultural background and as a son of the soil of the great Benin kingdom I sure will leave no stone unturned. A thorough research was made on the tradition and customs of my people; I worked through days and nights in creating the storyline of IYORE. It wasn’t an easy task but being my very first movie to be filmed on the ground and soil of my birth, I had to put in an extra effort to make sure this movie is rated best out of my best and multiple award winning movies.

My father once said to me: “ Efosa [Frank] you are a great film maker, one of Africa’s finest of this time. I am happy for your successes but its time you make me proud by telling the story of our cultural heritage… African stories. We have enough stories to tell as Africans”. Then I said: Nehizena, there is time for everything and he said to me: This is the time! And that became a drive that gave birth to this great mythical tale set around the ancient city of Benin kingdom, Edo state of Nigeria. Linking the story to the Yoruba kingdom was another thoughtful exercise that took me weeks to plot.

Another tooth pulling was making my choice of cast. I needed actors, professionally trained ones and not just big names in the field. Hence my choice of the queen of the screen, Rita Dominic, trained, experienced with a good depth of interpretation. She will stop at nothing but perfection as my female lead actor. And to strike a balance with such an ace actress I had to employ the services of the beautiful Okawa Shaznay to interpret and link three of my most sensitive characters in the story. And trust me she did great justice to them all. Not to mention the amazing Joseph Benjamin as Prince Azuwa of the great Benin kingdom, Paul Obazele as Oba Izuwa of Benin, Yemi Blaq as the victim of the circle, Bukky wright as Queen Funke Adekoya of Ondo state and a host of other great talents. I sure could not have gotten my cast better than I did. In the end I am quite sure I have not failed my people and my millions of fans out there.

Producing and Directing IYORE was an amazing experience for my crew, cast, family and myself. I hope the rest of the world will love and enjoy watching this film as much as we did creating it.








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