The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2023, the first by a Nigerian filmmaker to do so.
In recent years, Nigerian films have struggled to meet the eligibility requirements for the Academy’s annual International Feature Films award which states that feature-length motion pictures created outside the United States must contain 50% percent or more non-English dialogue.
In 2019, Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart was disqualified from the Oscars for not fulfilling the non-English dialogue criteria. In 2020, Desmond Ovbiagele’s The Milkmaid also fell short of making the initial shortlist in the International Feature Film category.
Since then, Nigeria had not submitted any films for Oscar consideration until Mami Wata. The NOSC selected the film for its “pertinent theme, focusing on multiple generations of women at the forefront of societal well-being, its unique approach to a narrative about pre and post-colonial African societies, and its technical and artistic excellence.”