Oya Rise of the Orishas

African Gods to Become Modern-Day Superheroes in New Film, ‘Oya: Rise of the Orisha’

Not until last fall, had I ever seen African Orishas, Gods and Goddesses of the Yorùbá religion, portrayed beyond illustration. And what’s known about them has spread primarily through oral tradition.

Similarly, the deities and their supernatural gifts, powers and responsibilities have never been visualized in film, but that’s about to change.

Watch: African Gods as Superheroes in ‘Oya: Rise of the Suporishas’ [Full Film]

Oya: Rise of the Orisha is an upcoming sci-fi/action/martial arts film that will bring some of these figures to life as modern-day superheroes in Britain.

Oya Rise of the Orishas

Written and directed by Nosa Igbinedion, the film “will tell a story that has not been heard before and discover worlds that have not yet been explored in Black British Cinema.”


For centuries the doorway between the world of the Orishas and our world has remained closed, until now. Our hero, Ade, is one of the few people with a connection to one of the Gods, Oya.

She has been tasked with the job of protecting the innocent and that means keeping the door to the gods shut. If the doorway to the gods is opened, they will wreak chaos upon us as retribution for our abandonment of them.

To keep the door shut, she must find ‘the key’, a young girl with the potential to open the doorway, and keep her safe.

The adventure unfolds with a host of memorable characters and a string of unexpected twists, Ade, goes in search of the key, battling against those who wish to open portal and unleashing a horde of forgotten gods and goddesses into the world, with powers and skills beyond our comprehensive and supernatural gifts which will change the course of history for mankind, forever.​

Of course, the film needs funding, so he has launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to produce a short film, which will be used to raise additional money for a full feature.

Orisha - Oya Illustration by Steven Gravel

African Orisha, Oya, Illustrated by Steven Gravel

Though Yorùbá is rooted in Nigeria, due to the slave trade it spread to through Latin America and the Caribbean. It has also influenced ways of life such as LucumíUmbanda and Candomblé.

While there are over 400 Orishas, in Rise of the Orisha, we expect to see the most popular: Agayu, Babalu Aye, Erinle, Eshu, Ibeji, Obatala, Obba, Ochumare, Ogun, Oko, Olokun, Olurun, Ori, Orunmila, Oshu, Oxosi, Oya, Ozain, Shango and Yemaja.

Oya, referenced in the film title, is described as the Tempest, Guardian of the Cemetery, Winds of Change, Storms and Progression.