Netflix, Nollywood joins forces to showcase Nigeria’s rich content to the world
It’ is no gainsaying, Nollywood has been and is the epicentre of the African entertainment industry, creating stars and producing content that resonates with fans across the continent.
Against this backdrop, this year, world’s leading streaming entertainment service with over 183 million paid memberships in over 190 countries, Netflix is joining forces with some of Nigeria’s most talented creatives to bring unique stories to the world.
With this new found access to the global stage, the powerful stories crafted by Nigerian creatives will now enjoy a worldwide audience. Commenting on the development, Netflix Director of Content Acquisition and Co-Productions in Africa, Ben Amadasun, said: “Great stories come from anywhere in the world, and Africa is full of incredible stories that we finally get to share with the world.
“We have a wealth of fables that have been passed down from generations, and Netflix has a great opportunity to bring those stories to the forefront, which will resonate all over the world.”
Amadasun explained that to kick start the development, a Nigerian Netflix original, Untitled Akin Omotoso, a six-part series set in contemporary Nigeria and shot in Lagos, and announced in February this year is in the pipeline.
Also commenting on the partnership, Kenyan-born, Dorothy Ghettuba, who is Head African Originals for Netflix explains that “our continent has a wealth of diversity, multiplicity, and beauty in stories that have yet to be told and we want to be top of mind for creators in Nigeria, especially when it comes to stories they haven’t had a chance to tell yet.”
The series, which is directed by Akin Omotoso, an accomplished filmmaker, stars Nollywood celebrated acts like Richard Mofe Damijo, Joke Silva Kate, Henshaw, and Ade Layoe, amongst others.
Though there is little doubt that the upcoming projects will find a welcoming audience on the service, as Kate says: “African content will resonate around the world because there are Africans all over the world, not just in Africa.”
Actress and director of the Netflix acquired Lionheart, Genevieve Nnaji, said: “We have amazing talent and we haven’t had an adequate platform to showcase our talent across the board. It’s a good thing, especially for upcoming artistes who want a chance. We have so many more stories to tell.”
On his part, acclaimed filmmaker, Akin Omotoso adds, “It is my firm belief that a great story will always find a receptive audience, regardless of where it’s from, or how different the world is from their own reality. Ultimately, people want great entertainment, compelling storylines and powerful acting.
“Netflix represents an incredible opportunity to get Nigerian stories to 190 countries – it’s an indescribable moment for the Nigerian production industry, and we’re thrilled to share our stories with the world.”
The CEO of EbonyLife, Mo Abudu notes that, “For so long I’ve been fortunate enough to experience how African content can, in fact, travel and this investment by Netflix is going to help grow the African industry and get our stories out there.”
Recognising the significance of African stories on a global platform like Netflix, Abudu adds, “We can only continue to rise and do better with how we tell our stories to those who are receiving it. This step that Netflix is taking is going to help grow the African industry and get our stories out there”.
EbonyLife, recently sealed a partnership deal with Netflix to create multiple titles including the on-screen adaptations of literary works by two critically-acclaimed Nigerian authors: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, a series based on Lola Shoneyin’s best-selling debut novel, and a film adaptation of Death And The King’s Horseman, a play by Nobel Prize laureate in Literature, author, poet and playwright, Wole Soyinka.
“The stories that come from Nollywood are stories of the Nigerian people. These stories are uniquely African and they are told by creatives who live, breathe and are born from African culture,” says celebrated filmmaker and actor, Kunle Afolayan.
The Mokalik, The CEO, The Figurine producer further adds, “I believe so much in my culture and I’ll do everything possible to use audiovisual to project, preach, educate and also preserve the same culture. Aside from entertainment, you can educate, and you can inform.”