Global streamer Netflix and French visual arts school Gobelins have partnered to offer scholarships to six African animators in a bid to strengthen the pipeline of new animation talent on the continent.
The selected students will be admitted to Gobelins’ Master of Arts in Character Animation and Animated Filmmaking course. The two-year course, taught in English, is designed to enable students to reach a professional level in a multicultural environment.
The curriculum includes advanced courses in 2D and 3D character animation, scriptwriting, directing and storyboarding.
The scholarships will cover the tuition fees for the entire length of the programme, as well as a contribution to the cost of living in Paris.
Applications close on March 2. Those selected will be announced at the end of April, and classes will commence in September.
A Sunday Affair, a new romance film produced by Nigeria’s EbonyLife Media, will debut on global streamer Netflix next month.
Written by Darrel Bristow-Bovey and directed by Walter Taylaur, the movie will become available on Valentine’s Day (February 14).
A Sunday Affair follows two female best friends who fall in love with a charming yet flawed eligible bachelor who is caught up in an unenviable dilemma. A love triangle ensues, with the women unaware they are dating the same man.
The cast includes Nse Ikpe Etim, Dakorea Egbuson, Alex Ekubo, Hilda Dokubo, Chris Iheuwa and Uzor Osimpkpa.
Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife Media, said: “A Sunday Affair is an original idea that has been playing around in my head for nearly 10 years. It has been written and rewritten by several writers, each time adding a layer of richness to the story.
“It’s wonderful to see this film launch on Netflix on Valentine’s Day. This underscores how special this film is.”
Netflix is set to debut the third season of South African comedy series How to Ruin Christmas next month.
The latest season of How to Ruin Christmas will debut on December 9. The franchise follows two families, the Sellos and Twalas, and the mayhem that ensues when the get together. It debuted in 2020 and was soon followed by another run in 2021, which centred on a funeral.
The new season will force the Sello and Twala families together once again, this time for a baby shower.
The series is produced by siblings Katleho and Rethabile Ramaphakela through their Johannesburg-based company Burnt Onion Productions. The cast includes Clementine Mosimane, Charmaine Mtinta, Rami Chuene and Trevor Gumbi.
“The Sellos and Twalas and chaotic Christmases? Same WhatsApp group! On the agenda this time? Throw the baby shower of the year, don’t reveal the agenda and keep the family together,” said Netflix.
International streamer Netflix has announced the launch date of Far From Home, its first Nigerian show aimed at a young adult audience.
Produced in partnership with Inkblot Productions, the five-part series concluded principal photography earlier this year and is set for a December 16 global premiere on Netflix.
The series follows a charismatic teenager and talented artist from a poor family, played by Mike Afolarin, whose dreams suddenly appear within reach when a prestigious scholarship to the most exclusive school in the country catapults him into the affluent world of Nigeria’s elite.
The show blends up-and-coming talent and established screen stars, with a cast that includes Funke Akindele, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Bolanle Ninalowo, Bucci Franklin, Bimbo Akintola, Linda Ejiofor, Chioma Akpotha, Femi Branch, Carol King and Ufuoma Mcdermott.
Nigerian scriptwriter Dami Elebe served as the series’ head writer, with Chinaza Onuzo, Erika Klopper, Zulumoke Oyibo and Damola Ademola as executive producers.
Inkblot is the Lagos company behind the lucrative movie franchise The Wedding Party and Moms at War 2, and also signed a three-year deal with Amazon Studios last year.
Onuzo said: “We’re excited to be partnering with Netflix to create this special show on a global scale for and about young Nigerians. Working with such an amazing cast and crew to tell this unique story about making your way in the world and chasing your dreams no matter your status in life is such a privilege and honour.”
Global streaming platform Netflix is set to premiere Nigerian writer/director Korede Azeez’s latest project, Adieu Salut.
The so-called ‘lo-fi sci-fi’ short movie is set in a not-so-distant future and follows a young girl who fights for control over her own fate. It also tells the story of the plight of the people of a small Fulani village.
The project is written and directed by Azeez, who was one of six winners of the Netflix and UNESCO African Folktales Reimagined Competition that was held last year. She emerged winner and received US$25,000 plus a production budget of US$75,000 for the short film.
“The film was the product of thoughts I had held for some time, so when Netflix made the call for entries last year, it wasn’t too difficult finding the right material to form the basis of my reimagined folktale. I submitted my entry, I got the email months later, and here we are,” she said.
Adieu Salut is produced by Kenneth Gyang, founder of Cinema Kpatakpata.
Becoming Abi, a six-episode workplace comedy-drama created, written and co-directed by its star, Bolu Essien, will debut on streaming platform Netflix this autumn.
Produced by Essien’s production company Evolving Light Studios, the series is inspired by her experiences working in an advertising firm and looks at life as a professional in Nigeria. It will debut on October 28.
Essien, who plays the lead role, said: “To think my first big project is exactly about my journey to this point, I still can’t fathom it. God, indeed, is the greatest planner. When the details are out, you’ll understand more.
“To the crew who worked with me to bring my baby to life, thank you. I have called you all to thank you at different times but this is so if you stumble on my page, you’ll know how much I appreciate you. To the cast who took on the characters, if we get to do season two, I’ll bring everyone back, that’s how solid you guys were. Professional and committed.”
The show is directed by Terrel Ejem and the cast also includes Benita Okojie, Seun Ajayi, Biodun Stephen, Akah Nnani, Juliana Olayode, Ifeanyi Kalu and Idowu Philips.
Netflix’s Dorothy Ghettuba told the MipAfrica conference this week about the need to take African stories around the world and to work with African creatives, and explained the streamer’s efforts to be inclusive.
Ghettuba, director of African originals at Netflix, told the inaugural MipAfrica event in Cape Town, South Africa, that storytellers are important because they are the custodians of our history, present and the future. “We are responsible for preserving our culture, for showcasing our culture in whatever form you tell your story,” she said.
“If you look at Hollywood, it’s local American stories; in Bollywood, those are local Indian stories; and in Nollywood — I admire Nigerians saying, ‘This is the party, you are welcome to join’ — they are telling authentic Nigerian stories,” Ghettuba told delegates.
“We have found that the shows that do the best are the ones that are locally specific. There is an unwavering dedication to telling local stories and it is our responsibility to tell our stories to the world. Let us continue being brave, courageous and tell our stories to the rest of the world.”
She added that for an organisation like Netflix, being inclusive was key and a sound business decision because good stories come from around the world.
The streamer has embarked on a mission to get more African content on to its platform, including signing deals with Nigeria’s EbonyLife Media and John Boyega’s UpperRoom Productions.
African content on Netflix so far incudes spy thriller Queen Sono, teen drama Blood & Water, gangster drama King of Boys: The Return of the King, sci-fi animated series Team 4 and historic drama Amina.
On getting along with African creatives, Ghettuba suggested MipAfrica delegates try three things: “You need to honour them and respect them for their craft, you need to pay them well and pay them on time, and make sure our creatives are happy. They are doing what it is they need to do to tell the best stories.”
She added that she makes sure the team at Netflix have what they need to be able to help creatives do their best work.
MipAfrica is a market for film, television and digital content distribution and coproduction in Africa. The event joins event organiser RX’s portfolio of TV industry gatherings MipTV and Mipcom in France, plus MipCancun in Mexico and MipChina.
Digital lifestyle and entertainment platform Accelerate TV has told Content Nigeria that its Afro-centric subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service Accelerate Plus has chalked up 6,000 subscribers since launching in April.
The app can be accessed in all African countries and some parts of Europe and the US, and curates content from Africa in various categories including drama, films, music, talkshows, lifestyle and entertainment.
Subscribers to the Lagos-based streaming platform can watch shows such as Visa on Arrival, The Olive, The Cover, Third Avenue, Pay Day, Lovers & Sinners, Far From Yesterday and period drama The Herbert Macaulay Affair.
The service recently launched a romantic comedy series called Just Friends. The show tells the story of two lovebirds in Lagos, Nigeria. It was created by Victor Aghahowa and produced by Nne Nlemadim with associate producer Betty Nicholas. It stars Chy Nwakanma, Charles Etubiebi, Martha Ehinome, Toluwa Wumi and Lucy Ameh.
“Accelerate Plus aims to be a forerunner in shifting the dominant narrative about Africa, a key reason that led to the creation of the platform as a space to highlight only the continent’s finest creative works,” said the company.
The subscriber announcement comes in the same week UK analysis firm Digital TV Research forecast the number of SVoD subscriptions in Africa will triple by 2027.
There were 4.9 million SVoD subscriptions in Africa at the end of 2021, and Digital TV Research predicts this figure will increase to 13.64 million by 2027. This means 6.6% of TV households will pay for at least one subscription by 2027, up from 3.9% at the end of 2021.
Netflix is expected to remain the market leader, with 6.41 million subs by 2027, up from 2.72 million at the end of 2021. This represents 48% of the region’s total SVoD subscriptions.
The Brave Ones, a South African fantasy film created by Nigerian film director Akin Omotoso, will debut on global streamer Netflix on September 16.
The film follows the story of a goddess who is reborn and has to learn how to harness her superpowers to avenge her sister’s death and protect her family from destruction. The cast includes Sthandile Nkosi, Nomalanga Nkosi, Bonko Khoza, Zamani Mbatha and Keke Mphuthi.
“The show is entertaining, enchanting, packed with lots of drama and a labour of love with swinging tears and I can’t wait for you to see it,” said Omotoso.
“In 2019, a few months after I joined Netflix, I met Akin Omotoso and he had a great story to tell,” said Dorothy Ghettuba, director of original series for Africa at Netflix.
“This became the first show I signed. It has been three years in the making and I cannot wait for you all to watch it! My biggest lesson has been that some things just take time.”
Netflix has signed a multi-project partnership with South African filmmaker Mandlakayise Walter Dube and ordered a South African supernatural drama series called The Brave Ones.
Under the partnership, Dube – who directed Netflix’s first commissioned African film, Silverton Siege – will direct a number of yet-to-be-announced projects for the streamer.
The tie-up follows multi-title agreements Netflix has previously struck with African creatives Mo Abudu and Kunle Afolayan, and comes as the streamer ramps up investment in African stories.
Netflix announced the news at its See What’s Next Africa showcase in Johannesburg today, where it shared glimpses of upcoming projects including South African series Ludik and film Kings of Queenstown.
During the presentation, Netflix announced a new South African series called The Brave Ones, which comes from director, writer and actor Akin Omotoso and launches on the platform in September. The supernatural drama is set in modern-day South Africa but is inspired by African folklore.
Netflix also announced the return of pan-African reality show Young, Famous & African for a second season. Season one debuted earlier this year.
Additionally, Netflix revealed a Nigerian film to come from its partnership with Afolayan. Titled Anikulapo, the film is a mystical folklore drama revolving around a zealous young man seeking greener pastures in the Oyo Kingdom.
Tendeka Matatu, director of local-language films for Netflix in Africa, said: “We are working with top talent and filmmakers as well as exciting emerging voices from the continent. We are thrilled to expand our partnerships with Africa’s talented storytellers.
“With an ever-growing slate of series, movies and licensed content across a rich variety of best-in-class content across genres, we want to give our members more moments to share the joy that comes from being immersed in great stories made in Africa, to be watched by the world.”
Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix director of series in Africa, added: “We believe that Africa is one of the major creative centres for great storytelling that resonates around the world so it only makes sense for us to increase our investment.”
Elesin Oba (The King’s Horseman), a coproduction between Nigeria’s EbonyLife and streamer Netflix, will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.
The period movie – an adaptation of a 1975 play titled Death & the King’s Horseman – will feature in the prestigious Special Presentation category, becoming the first Yoruba-language film to do so.
The news was announced by Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife, who took to Instagram to say: “EbonyLife Films and our coproduction partner Netflix are pleased to announce that Elesin Oba will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2022.
“The original Death & the King’s Horseman was a stage play, written by Prof. Wole Soyinka, who won Africa’s first Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. It is the first time that one of Soyinka’s works has been made into a feature film.
“To our amazing stars and crew, thank you all so much. To our partners Netflix, thank you for partnering with us once again, and to TIFF, thank you for selecting our work to be featured in your 2022 Special Presentation category.”
The film and the play it is based were inspired by a real-life incident that took place in Nigeria during the colonial era when the horseman of a Yoruba king was prevented from committing ritual suicide by the colonial authorities.
The screen adaptation was written and directed by Biyi Bandele. Its cast includes Odunlade Adekola, Shaffy Bello, Olawale ‘Brymo’ Olofooro, Deyemi Okanlawon, Omowunmi Dada and Jide Kosoko.
TIFF takes place in Toronto from September 8 to 18. The annual event attracts more than 480,000 people.
Global streaming platform Netflix has announced the launch date for its first Afrikaans title, Ludik.
Set to premiere on the US-owned platform on August 26, Ludik tells the story of a wholesome family man who runs a successful furniture business. Plunged into the underworld and faced with mobsters, murderers, jail time, death and family turmoil, he must rely on both his old and new allies to prevail.
The six-part series is a mix of knuckle-busting action, OTT Afrikaans humour and lots of plot twists. It features South African-born Hollywood actor Arnold Vosloo (Silvertone Siege) in the title role and local heavyweight talent Rob Van Vuuren, Diaan Lawrenson and Zane Meas.
Ludik is produced by Johannesburg-based Rose & Oaks Media, executive produced by Anele Mdoda, Paul Buys and Frankie Du Toit, directed by Ian Gabriel and Harold Holscher and created by Paul Buys and Annemarie Van Basten.
The news comes soon after Netflix unveiled South African drama Justice Served, a six-episode series that follows a high-stakes drama unfolding in a hijacked South African courtroom.
Produced by Meraki Studios of Johannesburg in association with Ochre Media, the show stars Hlomla Dandala, Motshabi Tyelele, Jack Devnarain, Lerato Mvelase and Pallance Dladla. It debuts on Netflix on July 29.
Netflix is set to premiere Country Queen, the first original Kenyan drama to join the global streamer.
The family drama, which uses a mix of English and Swahili and was two years in the making, will be made available in 190 countries from tomorrow.
The production was overseen by Berlin-based prodco Good Karma Fiction and 10 up-and-coming Kenyan writers and filmmakers.
It was produced by Kamau Wa Ndung’u and the executive producers for Good Karma are Peter Obrist, Waltraud Ehrhardt and Ravi Karmalker, in partnership with African distribution company AAA Entertainment.
As well as Netflix, the series was made with financial support from the German government via DW Akademie; German-French cultural channel Arte/ZDF; and an unspecified private investor.
The project’s goal was to create sustainable jobs in the media industry for young Kenyan creatives as well as to produce an authentic Kenyan series that would appeal across Africa and beyond.
The language mix of Swahili and English will resonate not only in Kenya but also with the over 100 million Swahili speakers across the continent, according to Netflix.
Set in Kenya, the drama series tells the story of ordinary people fighting against a corporate power that threatens to destroy their homes and lives.
It follows a girl, played by Melissa Kiplaga, who is estranged from her family and village. When her father falls ill, she returns to a community divided after a mining company discovers gold on their land.
Although Country Queen is fiction, the writers and producers conducted research with local communities and activists to get their takes on issues such as family disputes, land ownership, local mining practices and over-exploitation of natural resources that affect many African families.
The show also stars Sheila Munyiva, Nini Wacera, Melvin Alusa, Oliver Litondo, Blessing Lungaho and Raymond Ofula.
Global streaming platform Netflix has picked up 2018 documentary Bigger Than Africa and will debut the film on its platform today.
Bigger Than Africa is a documentary that breaks down the historical influence of Yoruba culture and how it has transcended continents and connected the black diaspora. It highlights the journey of Africans through the lens of Yoruba culture.
Released in 2018, it was directed by award-winning Nigerian film director Toyin Ibrahim Adekeye through his Los Angeles-based production company Motherland Productions.
Bigger Than Africa was shot in six countries with research and interviews from around the world. It takes you on a journey through Brazil, the US, Cuba, Trinidad & Tobago and back to where it all began, in West Africa.
“When the slave ships docked in North America, Brazil and the Caribbean, hundreds of cultures, traditions and religions landed with the Africans on board. One transcended slavery beyond imagination and remains alive till this day in the New World: the Yoruba culture. Bigger Than Africa follows these Africans from the point of no return in West Africa to their final destinations,” said Adekeye.
Bigger Than Africa was nominated for the African Movie Academy Award in 2018 and is distributed by KAP Film.
Global streaming platform Netflix and African filmmaking organisation Realness Institute have revealed the 12 participants who have been selected for the 2022 Episodic Lab (EPL) and Development Executive Traineeship (DET) programmes.
The six candidates and their projects chosen for EPL are Hussein Kurji with Bushcamp (Kenya), Khanyo Mjamba with Byline (South Africa), Mlilo Mpondo with Bayeti-Visitors (South Africa), Neo Sibiya with Ukushona Kwelanga/The Setting of the Sun (South Africa), Sandra Madu with From Lagos With Love (Nigeria) and Voline Ogutu with Dilemma (Kenya).
The candidates for DET are Babalwa Baartman (South Africa), Khosie Dali (South Africa), Mona Ombogo (Kenya), Neiloe Whitehead (South Africa), Omotunde Akiode (Nigeria) and Pedro Duarte Soulé (Cabo Verde).
Each participant will receive a monthly stipend of US$2,000 during the incubation period to cover living expenses as they focus on their concept and professional development.
They will spend three months in a virtual lab where they will work on developing their original story ideas, in any genre, while being mentored by Realness Institute creative producers Elias Ribeiro and Mehret Mandefro, as well as story consultants Selina Ukwuoma and Thandeka Zwana.
They will also have the opportunity to pitch their incubated stories to Netflix executives.
According to the filmmaking organisation, the selected participants will gain a deeper understanding of the story development process, working alongside creative producers and story experts.
DET participants will work in teams to support the development and crafting of the Episodic Lab participants’ respective projects and help translate their concepts into pitch decks.
Realness Institute is a non-profit organisation that aims to empower Africans to tell their stories from an unapologetically African point of view.
In celebration of Africa Day on May 25 and Africa Month throughout May, global streaming platform Netflix has launched a new collection of content titled From Cape to Cairo.
The collection aims to highlight African stories and storytellers from across the continent.
Netflix said: “There’s plenty that’s unique about Africa, from being the world’s hottest continent to being home to more than 1.2 billion people spread over 54 countries who speak more than 2,000 different languages. With this rich cultural heritage, there’s a multitude of stories to be told from, and about, the continent and its people.”
From Cape to Cairo will feature African films including Silverton Siege and Man of God. It will also include South African true crime docuseries Senzo: Murder of a Soccer Star, reality show Young Famous & African, drama series King of Boys: Return of the King, Nigerian show Blood Sisters and South African title Savage Beauty.
In addition, the collection will showcase content focusing on African culture and history, content from female African creators and programming from the African diaspora.
Global streaming platform Netflix has unveiled a podcast titled Never Late: African Time, continuing its efforts to grow its content proposition on the African continent.
The new podcast will discuss everything African and celebrate the continent as the next frontier.
It will be hosted by Andy Maqondwana and Zweli Mbhele and feature Nollywood and South African stars including Ini Dima-Okojie, Nancy Isime, Sharon Ooja, Kemi Adetiba, Candice Modiselle, Nandi Nyembe and Israel Matseke-Zulu.
“Africa, it’s our time. Introducing the first Netflix Africa podcast. Never Late: African Time talking all things African stories, celebrating our content and how our continent is the next frontier. We’ve got stories, we’ve got laughs and a whole lot of quotable moments,” the streaming platform said on Instagram.
The podcast will premiere on May 4 and will be available on the AfricaOnNetflix official YouTube page, as well as Spotify and Apple. Viewers can tune in to new episodes every Wednesday, with the podcast available in video and audio formats.
Thriller miniseries Blood Sisters, from Nigerian production company EbonyLife Studios and Netflix, will debut exclusively on the streamer on May 5.
The show is part of the multi-title partnership agreed between Netflix and EbonyLife Media CEO Mo Abudu in 2020. It is written by Craig Freimond and Zelipa Zulu, with Abudu executive producing.
The four-part crime thriller is set against the bustling backdrop of Lagos and will be available on Netflix worldwide.
Directed by Biyi Bandele and Kenneth Gyang, Blood Sisters tells the story of two friends, played by Ini Dima-Okojie and Nancy Isime. Deyemi Okanlawon also stars in the show, which is described as “a heart-stopping series of catastrophic events marked by murder, love, betrayal and the test of friendship.”
The series explores themes including intra-family relationships, physical and substance abuse, love, commitment and relationships, as well as friendships tested by challenging circumstances.
Abudu said: “Blood Sisters is a crime thriller, which is a new genre for us, so the prospect was challenging but very exciting. It was also a particularly unique and intense experience as we shot during the pandemic, but we remained committed to the vision we share with Netflix – to tell authentic and exciting African stories with superb production values.”
As well as film heavyweights Dima-Okojie and Isime, the cast includes Ramsey Nouah, Kate Henshaw, Uche Jombo, Segun Arinze, Joke Silva, Deyemi Okanlawon, plus fan favourites Ibrahim Suleiman, Toke Makinwa and Okey Uzoeshi.
Films already released under the partnership include critically acclaimed movie Òlòturé, while the adaptation of Wole Soyinka play Death & the King’s Horseman is set to follow.