WhatsApp commissions first enjoyment project, a film showcasing Nigerian NBA star

WhatsApp, the well-liked messaging app owned by tech giant Meta, is bowing its initial unique entertainment undertaking later this month — a brief film that includes NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo, born in Greece to Nigerian parents, was named the 2021 NBA All-Star MVP and led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA Finals title that year. In the 12-moment movie, titled “Naija Odyssey,” the pro basketballer “tells his origin story of numerous origins as he reconciles his roots, birthplace and feeling of belonging amongst cross-cultural worlds,” in accordance to WhatsApp’s description. The athlete inked an endorsement deal with WhatsApp in February of this calendar year.

Narrated by Antetokounmpo and his mother, Veronica, “Naija Odyssey” is loosely dependent on the traditional Greek epic poem “The Odyssey,” depicting various moments in his everyday living. “In Greece, my academics instructed stories of vacationers battling the sea, preventing to locate their way house — to obtain themselves,” Antetokounmpo claims in the voiceover for the film’s trailer (check out below). “I was on that same journey.”

“Naija Odyssey” is directed by filmmakers Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inada and edited by Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, who received the 2021 Oscar for film modifying for Amazon Studios’ “Sound of Metal.” WhatsApp will release the film on Sept. 21 on its social media channels, YouTube and Amazon Key Video.

Why did WhatsApp commission the movie? The undertaking is really a piece of branded material seeking to capitalize on Antetokounmpo’s around the globe fame and connect the message that WhatsApp can bring men and women collectively. “‘Naija Odyssey’ is a story that reinforces how WhatsApp can help us embrace our multifaceted life,” claimed Vivian Odior, WhatsApp’s worldwide head of promoting. “In navigating interactions, identification, and even adversity, WhatsApp is there — enabling you to embrace all sides of you by connecting you to individuals who make a difference most.”

The uplifting message of “Naija Odyssey” appears in aspect designed to counter the narrative that WhatsApp has helped gasoline the spread of misinformation and furthered societal divisions — which in some instances has led to actual-globe violence.

Meta (formerly Fb) obtained cell messaging application WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion. WhatsApp now has a lot more than 2 billion regular people. The WhatsApp offer is cited in the FTC’s pending antitrust lawsuit against its parent company, with the agency alleging that the acquisition was element of Facebook’s anticompetitive modus operandi to invest in up likely competition. Meta has explained the FTC’s claims are “an exertion to rewrite antitrust regulations and upend settled anticipations of merger critique.”

Maria Lewis

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