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.
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.”
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.