Some great movies first cut their teeth at film festivals, captivating audiences and critics alike. In 2015, Todd Haynes’ tender, lesbian drama Carol was a top favourite at Cannes, and subsequently secured a Best Actress win for Cate Blanchett at the Oscars. Last year, Jordan Peele’s satirical, horror-adjacent film Get Out was screened at the Sundance festival and achieved word-of-mouth fame even before a theatrical release.
Film festivals are a fertile, enabling ground for a film’s press cycle to begin, and also a way to test audiences’ reception. And CJ Obasi’s Afrofuturist short Hello, Rain is doing both – and succeeding. While his previous works – Ojuju, O-Town – helped in moulding his genre-leaning career, it was Hello, Rain that defined it.
Adapted from Hello, Moto, a 2011 short story written by self-identified, Afrofuturist author Nnedi Okorafor, Hello, Rain premiered at the 64th edition of the Oscar-qualifying Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen festival in Germany, one of the most prestigious short film festivals in the world.
A London screening of the film held at the Southbank Centre in July, and yesterday, three upcoming film festival screenings were announced: A France premiere at the Black Movie Summer Festival; a US premiere at the Chicago South Side Film Festival; and a South American premiere at the Cinemigrante Int’l Film Festival.
So if you will be in Paris, Chicago or Buenos Aires from now till September, and love Nollywood movies, especially one with an Afrofuturist slant, the upcoming Hello, Rain film festival screenings are for you. And, as a warning, don’t ever mix juju with magic.