Good news for Nollywood from LaVida Studios and The Story Lab U.S.
Nollywood practitioners are gearing up to exhale in a big way soon, as leading Nigeria production studio, LaVida Studios, has secured $50 million production investment and signed a 10-project slate with Dentsu’s The Story Lab, USA.
Chioma Ude, founder of AFRIFF and Managing Partner in LaVida Studios who broke the news on Wednesday, disclosed that the deal, a three-year collaboration with The Story Lab is for 10 films and television properties, focused on bringing African stories to the global stage. Ude also disclosed that the alliance, which focuses on both scripted and unscripted film and TV projects, would birth production serviced exclusively by LaVida Studios for all Africa-based production out of The Story Lab.
A statement on the deal indicates that PAC Capital Limited has committed an initial $50 million for LaVida’s film and TV projects, including the collaboration with The Story Lab. The funding is being accessed from PAC Capital’s PanAfrican CCI Fund 1, which is a $100 million fund dedicated to financing film production and distribution in Africa.
Similarly, LaVida and Dentsu are also planning to team with the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) to create a joint initiative, which would recruit and support top African writing talent in creating original stories that appeal to a global audience.
An elated Chioma Ude and Olugbenga Obadina, a co-managing partner in LaVida studios said they are thrilled to be working with Dentsu and The Story Lab Team in the U.S. “We are thrilled to be working together with Dentsu and its The Story Lab team in the U.S. to bring authentic and compelling African stories to the world,’’ Ude said, adding that the real deal for her is having Nollywood partner with Dentsu, a leading global advertising company.
On his part, Obadina described the deal as one that would also expand distribution infrastructure and provide access to African content globally.
“We are excited at LaVida and we are thrilled that this is happening. Expanding distribution infrastructure and access to African content globally; substituting the apprenticeship model in Nollywood for formal education and mentorship and co-production with global production studios are three major initiatives that will definitely take Nollywood to the next level. These are highlights of what the partnership between LaVida Studios and The Story Lab is poised to achieve.
It is exciting times ahead,’’ Obadina remarked.
Also speaking on the partnership, Executive Vice President and Head of Scripted Content at The Story Lab U.S, Geneva Wasserman, said that the combination of LaVida’s partnership with top Nigerian creators and Dentsu’s global network and presence would serve as a bridge between the content creators and the global market.
In the words of Wasserman who is credited for spearheading the partnership, “We are honored to bring these stories to the world through this collaboration.”
Mike Ferry, Head of The Story Lab U.S. added, “It is partnerships like this one which really help move the dial when it comes to discovering and elevating emerging talent. I’m so pleased we can be part of amplifying the diverse voices of Africa alongside our friends at LaVida and AFRIFF.”
Dentsu International is one of the largest global marketing and advertising agency networks in the world, while LaVida is a full service Production studio based in Lagos.