“Naija Odyssey” will premiere on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube on September 21. Told by NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo and his mother, Veronica, it’s loosely based on the Greek epic poem “The Odyssey,” depicting different moments in his life.
Meta-owned social media messaging platform WhatsApp is set to venture into the world of film and entertainment, premiering its original short film ‘Naija Odyssey’ on Amazon Prime Video and YouTube on 21 september.
This 12-minute short film presents the cross-cultural story of NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo, born in Greece to Nigerian parents. For the uninitiated, Antetokounmpo was named the 2021 NBA All-Star MVP and led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Finals title that year.
The short film depicts the life of the pro-basketball player, who, according to WhatsApp, “tells his multi-cultural origin story as he reconciles his roots, birthplace and sense of belonging between cross-cultural worlds.”
This film will be released on September 21 on Prime Video and will also be broadcast on its social networks and on YouTube, WhatsApp tweeted. Narrated by Antetokounmpo and his mother, Veronica, “Naija Odyssey” is also loosely based on the classic Greek epic poem “The Odyssey,” depicting different moments in his life.
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In the trailer, Antetokounmpo says in voiceover: “In Greece, my teachers told stories of travelers struggling against the sea, fighting to find their way home – to find themselves. I was on the same trip.
Directed by filmmakers Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inad (2021 short “Terra Cene”), it’s edited by Mikkel EG Nielsen, who won the 2021 Oscar for Film Editing for Amazon Studios’ “Sound of Metal.”
However, WhatsApp’s first original content, “Naija Odyssey”, is also a way to promote its platform, which was acquired by Meta (formerly Facebook) for $19 billion. In fact, Antetokounmpo recently signed an endorsement deal with the company, which is another first for the platform, Variety reports. The platform hopes to capitalize on Antetokounmpo’s global fame and spread the message that WhatsApp can bring people together, media outlets said.
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According to an official release, “Naija Odyssey” is a story that shows WhatsApp helping people embrace their multifaceted lives. It also gets the message across that while navigating identity, and even adversity, WhatsApp is there – allowing a person to embrace all aspects of themselves by connecting you to those who matter most.
This positive message also aims to counter the image of WhatsApp which has enabled the spread of misinformation and fueled hate and is a source of division. False propaganda has also led to violence. WhatsApp has over 2 billion monthly users.