Tag Archives: Kugali Media

Nigerian animators eye int’l partnerships

L-R: Ferdy Adimefe, moderator Ray Anyasi, Tolu Olowofoyeku and Dayo Clement

Nigerian animation executives from companies including Ultricle Studios and Kugali Media are hopeful the industry can improve its ability to attract international partners.

During a panel session at Lagos Comic Con last weekend, Kugali co-founder Tolu Olowofoyeku said he was not satisfied with the low number of partnerships African animation studios have with the wider international industry.

“There is really no one to blame; it’s a work in progress. It is a function of the Nigerian state, and certain things are just too difficult to do in Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking on the same panel, Dayo Clement of Ultricle Studios said that even though his company had tried working with international companies, low standards remain an issue in the local industry. As more African studios emerge and international bodies see that they have consistently delivered good content, this will open the door to collaboration, he said.

Elsewhere, Ferdy Adimefe, founder of Magic Carpet Studios, warned that while his company had had discussions about partnerships and coproductions, “we cannot get ahead if international bodies tell our stories through their own eyes.”

“We defined our ideology and are into authentic African stories. Animation is a calling and we help people find their identity, so quality cannot be compromised,” said Adimefe, adding that bilateral trade agreements could aid coproduction.

Similarly, Clement said Ultricle’s selling point was offering stories from an African perspective, telling unique stories beyond what Western companies can offer. He also echoed Clement’s point about standards.

Discussing local collaboration between African animation companies. Olowofoyeku said legal agreements should be in place from the outset. Some of the challenges as noted by Adimefe include lack of capacity, lack of training at universities for people to upskill in animation and also lack of financial support.

The panelists all agreed that animation is an export and therefore African animation studios need help from international partners with both production and distribution.

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African toon Iwájú to debut on Disney+

Iwájú comes from Tolu Olowofoyeku, Hami Ibrahim and Fikayo Adeola

African animated series Iwájú is set to debut on streaming platform Disney+ in 2022.

The series was developed by Nigerian comic artists Tolu Olowofoyeku, Hami Ibrahim and Fikayo Adeola and is a collaboration between pan-African comic book company Kugali Media and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

According to its producers, Iwájú, which means ‘the future’ in the Yoruba language, tells stories about the African continent and its history, embracing the present and also imagining its future

Set in Lagos, the sci-fi series will explore themes of class, innocence and challenging norms.

Director Ziki Nelson said: “It will combine Disney’s magic and animation expertise with Kugali’s fire and storytelling authenticity. Iwájú represents a personal childhood dream of mine to tell my story and that of my people.”

Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer Jennifer Lee added: “We found Kugali comics from a BBC article highlighting the talented comic book artists. Their dream is to bring African stories created by African artists to the world, highlighting the diversity of cultures, histories and voices across the continent.

“Their talents as storytellers blew us away. I’m proud to announce the first-of-its-kind collaboration to bring original longform series to Disney+.”

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