Tag Archives: Ben Murray-Bruce

Silverbird, Afreximbank to build film studio

Helen Brume of Afreximbank signed the partnership with Ben Murray-Bruce of Silverbird Group

Nigerian media and entertainment company Silverbird Group and multilateral trade finance institution African Export-Import Bank (aka Afreximbank) have entered into a partnership to build a film and studio complex in Lagos, Nigeria.

The agreement was signed by Helen Brume, director of projects and asset-based finance at Afreximbank, and Ben Murray-Bruce, founder of Silverbird Group. The studio will be named the Ben Murray-Bruce Studios & Film Academy (BMB Studios & Film Academy).

According to Afreximbank, the project will transform a 32,725-square-metre area in Eko Atlantic City into two purpose-built sound stages, a digital hub with music and broadcast studios, editing bays, screening rooms, studio backlot, production offices and a film academy designed to meet the aspirations of content creators.

Through the project, African talent will be equipped with skills and experience in film and television production thereby increasing local employment, stimulating business growth and development.

Both domestic and international students will be able to learn a wide range of film production disciplines, including cinematography, directing, filmmaking, gaming, music, post-production techniques, producing, screenwriting, VFX and animation.

It will also bring large-scale international productions to Africa and will establish a creative cluster to attract companies and talents with similar skills.

Kanayo Awani, executive VP of the Intra African Trade Bank at Afreximbank, said: “The deal we are signing today is of the utmost importance, not only for the significant support it provides to Africa’s burgeoning film industry, but especially because of the studio’s multipurpose potential to serve a range of sectors in the creative industries, from music and film to gaming and virtual reality.

“At Afreximbank, we recognise the power of Africa’s youth and creative talents to catalyse Africa’s trade, create millions of jobs and promote the emergence of national and regional value chains. This industry is bankable, and we aim to support its growth, expansion and sustainability. Afreximbank is proud to support this project.”

David Howell, CEO of the UK-based MetFilm School and education partner of the project, added that the partnership with the film academy will open opportunities to a new audience of future filmmakers and screen professionals.

Murray-Bruce said: “The BMB Studios & Film Academy is a response to Africa’s need for world-class technical skills and facilities that will accelerate the growth of its creative industries sector.

“From Netflix to Madison Square Gardens in New York, audiences are revelling in the magic of African storytelling. Now, more than ever, does the African continent need the world-class technical skills and facilities that will propel our creative industries to the next level. The BMB Studios & Film Academy is a response to this need and one that I believe will be a catalyst to driving agility, expertise and innovation in the African film and television industries.

“The studio will be an environment where content can be produced, managed and distributed digitally. The technical infrastructure will be the most advanced in West Africa, designed to handle the large bandwidth demands of media businesses; future-proofed to manage the expansion in new media content.

“We are creating a truly global platform for excellence in filmmaking, storytelling, and professional development. By 2030, I want the BMB Studios & Film Academy to represent the very pinnacle of what a studio and educational institution can be.”

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Silverbird, AAA agree $50m partnership

Nigerian media and entertainment company Silverbird Group and Lagos-based AAA Entertainment have signed a US$50m deal to develop and produce a slate of cinematic African feature films on the continent.

Mayenzeke Baza

The agreement took place at the Intra African Trade Fair (IATF) held at Durban South Africa from November 15 to 21. The deal will draw on the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank)’s US$500m Creative Industry Programme for financing.

AAA will bring to the partnership an experienced film development, financing and production team, facilities and partnership network. Silverbird Group brings its cinema exhibition and distribution infrastructure and experience in West Africa and the rest of the continent, as well as its studio facilities and network in Los Angeles.

Mayenzeke Baza, AAA’s head of distribution and financing, said: “We are excited about this partnership as it provides an opportunity to create great content between the two biggest markets on the continent, namely Nigeria and South Africa, and allows us to access pan-African private equity and state funding.”

Ben Murray-Bruce, founder of Silverbird Group, said: “Silverbird has a long history in the Nigerian media and entertainment sector. We began our journey as a live entertainment events company and expanded that into a network of television and radio station properties.

“We have successfully built the premiere West African film distribution and exhibition company and now it is with excitement that we pivot into the feature film production sphere by announcing our partnership with AAA Entertainment.”

Ben Murray-Bruce

According to Afreximbank, the partnership will be working exclusively with African and African American talent, looking to bridge the two markets and talent communities.

The first talent collaboration initiated by the Silverbird Group is with Vincent Berry II, the Grammy-winning producer, songwriter and board member of the Creative African Advisory Group, who was present at the signing of the partnership at the Afreximbank stand at the IATF.

Berry said: “I am so grateful to be partnering with AAA Entertainment and the Silverbird Group to produce music for the films that will showcase African talent and serve as bridge between talent across the diaspora and the continent.”

AAA has distributed and exec produced some of the biggest South African box office hits and is looking to expand that success to the rest of the continent.

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