New movie, Naija Odyssey stars Giannis Antetokounmpo
Today WhatsApp and Giannis Antetokounmpo release Naija Odyssey, an epic, four-chapter short ﬁlm that explores the importance of international connectivity through the lens of the Greek and Nigerian basketball prodigy.
The short ﬁlm, directed by international duo Nono Ayuso and Rodrigo Inada, is available to view on YouTube and in select markets on Prime Video starting today, September 21. Naija Odyssey is the ﬁrst product of the partnership between WhatsApp and Antetokounmpo since its initial unveiling at the NBA All-Star Game in February 2022.
Narrated by Antetokounmpo and his mother, Naija Odyssey is a loose interpretation of the Greek epic poem The Odyssey, informed by the Milwaukee Bucks forward’s evolution from Nigerian boy born in Greece to 2021 NBA All-Star MVP.
Portraying the plurality of Antetokounmpo’s heritage, the story celebrates how WhatsApp has enabled the basketball star to reach his athletic potential abroad while remaining true to his roots.
Giannis Antetokounmpo said: “As a Nigerian born and raised in Greece and currently living in the US, I have always felt both a strong connection and a longing distance to each part of who I am and where I have come from. Using WhatsApp to stay connected to my family while abroad has been pivotal to furthering my understanding of who I am no matter where I am, and I know that’s a sentiment many can relate to. I’m proud of what we have created with Naija Odyssey, and I hope that it’s a story many around the world can ﬁnd themselves, and their journeys, reﬂected in.”
Vivian Odior, head of marketing at WhatsApp said: “Naija Odyssey is a story that reinforces how WhatsApp helps us embrace our multifaceted lives. In navigating relationships, identity, and even adversity, WhatsApp is there – enabling you to embrace all sides of you by connecting you to those who matter most. We can’t wait to share it with the billions of people around the world who have been similarly impacted, enabled, and empowered by WhatsApp.”
Directors Nono & Rodrigo said: “As both immigrant and multicultural directors, we feel so proud to be able to tell Giannis’ journey, and create something that could resonate with a lot of people that have gone through the same situations.
This project was a dream; not only because of the super talented team behind it – Partizan, Translation, Whatsapp, and Giannis’ team – but also because it was really emotional to make a modern version of The Odyssey and integrate a relatable identity story like Giannis’ to it.”