Animated fantasy web series League of Orishas, created by Nollywood filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan, is set to debut on Anthill Studios’ YouTube channel.
The show, inspired by various west African mythologies and set in a time when gods, supernatural beings, humans and strange beasts all co-exist, debuts on September 11.
Anthill founder and MD Akinmolayan worked with Nigerian animator Eri Umusu (Day of Destiny, The Wedding Party) to produce the show.
The first episode, titled Ajanaku, follows the chief of the mighty forest hunters who has a score to settle with Ogun, the god of iron. New episodes will debut on a monthly basis.
Akinmolayan said: “At Anthill Studios, we love animation and the magic of creating amazing characters and worlds. New episodes would be aired every month that gradually unfolds the story and you can be part of the storytelling as well.”
Global streaming service Amazon Prime Video has signed a licensing deal with Nigerian film production and animation company Anthill Studios.
The deal means that Amazon’s streaming platform will be home to all of Ikeja-based Anthill Studios’ cinema releases from this month onwards following their theatrical run.
Niyi Akinmolayan, founder of Anthill Studios, said on Instagram: “With this licensing deal, we can explore more story ideas, including genres new to Nollywood like sci-fi and animation, for a global audience.
“This also means we get to share a lot of great things with you, as these films are fully owned by Anthill Studios and we want to bless the industry with knowledge.”
Ayanna Lonian, Amazon Prime Video’s director of content acquisition, added: “We want to showcase the very best of Nollywood and authentic African stories.”
Victoria Akujobi, head of production at Anthill Studios, said: “This deal is very empowering to us as a studio and to the entire industry. The world will get to see the best stories from the continent.”
Anthill Studios is behind cinema hits including Prophetess, Elevator Baby, Day of Destiny, Malika and Frogeck. Its deal with Amazon comes soon after the streamer inked a similar pact with Lagos film producer Inkblot Studios, the company behind Moms at War 2 and The Wedding Party.
A number of Nollywood movies will premiere in cinemas in the months to come, including The Ghost & the Tout Too (September 10), Fool’s Day (September 24) and The Progressive Tailors Club (October 29).
The Ghost & the Tout Too is a movie by Toyin Abraham Ajeyemi that tells the story of a young woman who grew up in a ghetto and meets a ghost after an unfortunate incident. It is the sequel to 2018 film The Ghost & the Tout.
The movie stars Toyin Abraham, Mercy Johnson, Osas Ighodaro, Adedimeji Lateef and Ini Edo. Abraham announced the news of the release on Instagram.
Fool’s Day, meanwhile, is directed by Tunde Olaoye and produced by Nigerian director and filmmaker Olufemi Oke, who took to Instagram to say: “One location, one-day family chaos! So much loud, so much crazy. You don’t want to miss this I promise you.”
The film stars Broda Shaggy, Tina Mba, Omowumi Dada, Tunji Sotimirin, Iyabo Ojo and Michael Okoli.
Lastly, The Progressive Tailors Club is a satire about community politics produced by Anthill Studios, directed by Biodun Stephen and executive produced by Nigerian filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan. The cast includes Rachael Oniga, Adedimeji Lateef, Bolaji Ogunmola, Uzor Arukwe and Blessing Jessica Obasi.
2019 Nigerian thriller movie Elevator Baby, directed by Akay Mason and produced by Niyi Akinmolayan, has been remade into an Indian version titled Thank You Brother.
The Telugu-language film is written and directed by Ramesh Raparthi and tells the story of a spoiled brat, played by Viraj Aswin, who wastes his mother’s money on his party lifestyle. His life is changed, however, when he gets stuck in an elevator with a pregnant woman (Anasuya Bharadwaj) and helps deliver the baby.
Akinmolayan’s production company Anthill Studios announced the news on Instagram, saying: “Elevator Baby the movie that keeps giving!!! When we made Elevator Baby, we were taking a big step for ourselves as a company as this was going to be our first cinema movie. And also Akay Mason’s directorial debut. We took a chance on faith and it paid off bountifully. A year later we get a call from Raparthi in India that they loved Elevator Baby and they’d love to remake it.”
The original Nigerian movie won awards in the Best Actress (Toyin Abraham) and Best Actor (Timini Egbuson) categories at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards last year.
The latest feature film from Nigerian filmmaker Niyi Akinmolayan, titled Prophetess, will launch in cinemas on April 2.
The movie, produced by Victoria Teimere Akujobi, Mimidoo Bartels and Matilda Sola and directed by Akinmolayan, tells the story of a prophetess who makes a bogus prediction about a football match that sets off a chain of events beyond her control.
Writing on Instagram, Akinmolayan’s production company, Anthill Studios, said: “Take chances! See you in cinemas April 2, nationwide. Prophetess is going to be a sweet film.”
The movie stars Nollywood actors including Toyin Abraham, Kehinde Bankole, Kunle Remi, Ronke Ojo, Tina Mba, Stan Nze, Uzor Arukwe, Deyemi Okanlanwon, Seyi Awolowo, Blessing Jessica Obasi and Adedimeji Lateef.
Akinmolayan is best known for directing the highest grossing Nigerian film of all time, The Wedding Party 2. He has also directed movies including Make a Move, Falling, Out of Luck, PlayThing and The Arbitration.
Nollywood actress Adesuwa Etomi is voicing the lead role in new Nigerian animated series Malika: Warrior Queen.
Written by Roye Okupe, founder of YouNeek Studios, and produced by Niyi Akinmolayan of Anthill Studios, the series is an adaptation of the graphic novel by Okupe which was published in 2016.
It is the story of a strong black African queen fighting for her kingdom, which is under threat of invasion by foreign cultures. The story is inspired by the 12th century Oyo empire although the characters are fictional.
According to Okupe: “You basically get to see how an African queen lived her life back then.
“I have to give credit again to Niyi, who’s also the director of the highest-grossing movie in Lagos, The Wedding Party 2. We discussed about who we would like to bring to this and Adesua was the first person I had on my mind to voice it. Not only is she a huge star, she’s also super-talented. After both of us went through the proper channels to present the idea to her, she basically said it would be a dream for her to do it.”
Other Nollywood actors taking speaking roles include Femi Branch (Chief Dogbari), Deyemi Okanlowon (the Windmaker and King Bass), Blossom Chukwujekwu (Abdul) and Sambassa Nzeribe (General Ras).
The series, which will be produced in Nigeria, consists of episodes featuring three scenes with a total runtime of 15 minutes.
Etomi has starred in movies including The Wedding Party, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, The Arbitration and Couple of Days and she won the Best Actress prize at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards for her role in 2015 film Falling.
“I hope that YouNeek Studios and all the other studios in Nigeria and Africa as a whole can start to bridge this gap between acquisition and trying to tell our stories through Nollywood as much as we’re doing it through Hollywood,” Okupe said.