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Why Labari Africa launched $3 million fund for Nollywood films – Tunde Leye

By Guardian Nigeria
15 December 2022   |   6:58 am
A Nollywood stakeholder, Tunde Leye, has said that his company, Labari Africa Productions, is investing $3 million in Nigeria's Nollywood because of the immense potential of the industry, and to groom a new wave of filmmakers. Leye, the managing partner of the firm, said this in a news release announcing the launch of Labari Africa…

Tunde Leye is the Managing Partner of Labari Africa Productions.

A Nollywood stakeholder, Tunde Leye, has said that his company, Labari Africa Productions, is investing $3 million in Nigeria’s Nollywood because of the immense potential of the industry, and to groom a new wave of filmmakers.

Leye, the managing partner of the firm, said this in a news release announcing the launch of Labari Africa Productions and its Nollywood film fund. According to him, the fund will finance a slate of films in Nollywood and support filmmakers in developing and producing new films.

It will also provide mentorship and on-set training opportunities for practical filmmaking experience to emerging filmmakers and support for distribution and marketing efforts. It is the first in a series of funds to be raised over the coming years, according to Labari Africa, who say details on accessing funding will be revealed in due course.

“We are excited to launch this new film fund and support a new wave of Nollywood filmmakers who tell the important stories that help position Africa favourably,” said Leye, who is a partner at Pan-African research firm SBM Intelligence, and is also the co-founder of CREDEQUiTY, a fintech company that uses data to verify identity, location and credit risk score.

“This $3 million fund will help provide the resources and support filmmakers need to bring their stories to life and showcase the incredible talent and creativity of the Nigerian film industry to the world.”

Leye, who has authored seven books and was the executive producer of Finding Hubby 1 & 2 and a number of other short Nigerian films, added: “The first investment of the Film Fund, is a heist-thriller which recently closed principal photography. The film ‘The Lagos Job,’ is produced and directed by the award-winning filmmaker, Femi D. Ogunsanwo, a general partner in Labari Africa Productions.

“It features some of the biggest names in Nollywood, such as Joselyn Dumas, Baaj Adebule, Antar Laniyan, Omowunmi Dada, Ade Laoye, Bimbo Manuel, Frank Donga, Teni Aladese and Daniel K Daniel. UK-based Charles Oleghe is the cinematographer.”

Ogunsanwo, the director of the upcoming The Lagos Jobs, has film credits spanning over a decade. He had previously directed films such as Lagos Chairman, Finding Hubby, Ajoche, Enakhe and Jemeji. He was also the producer of ZR-7, Ojukokoro, Knock-out Blessing, Finding Hubby, Lagos Chairman and That Other Side.

Adedayo Amzat, the CEO of the Zedcrest Group and one of the Labari Africa Productions, general partners, said: “From its humble beginnings, Nollywood has become a major contributor to the Nigerian economy, contributing 2.3 percent (about $600 million) to Nigeria’s GDP in 2021.

“We believe the time is right to bring expertise from the world of finance to bear on how our films are funded and ensure Nollywood’s continued growth and success. The fund will be open to established and emerging filmmakers, focusing on supporting projects that showcase Nigeria’s diverse culture and talent.”

In recent years, Nollywood films have gained recognition and acclaim at international film festivals, and the industry has seen significant growth in both domestic and international markets. With an estimated output of over 2,500 films per year, the industry is known for its unique storytelling and has gained a global following, with films being distributed in over 150 countries.

Labari Africa Productions is a Nigerian film production company specialising in creating high-quality films that showcase the diverse cultures and stories of the African continent.

Founded in 2022, the company is positioned to become a leader in African cinema, leveraging its $3 million film fund to support the growth of Nigerian filmmakers.

Over the next five years, it will focus on producing and promoting a slate of films that will promote cultural exchange and foster talent within the African film industry.

The Lagos Job is a heist-thriller that traces a young woman’s quest to avenge her father’s death on the orders of a powerful and connected rival. This quest will see her flee the country, join a foreign military force and bide her time until her father’s ally Justin comes along with a plan to help her find justice.