Tag Archives: Somto Ajuluchukwu

Third C3 Africa Network event lined up

Nigerian content market C3 Africa Network, organised in partnership with the Africa International Film Festival, is set to hold its third creative conference next week.

Somto Ajuluchukwu

The event will take place on November 13 at the Genesis Deluxe Cinema in Lagos.

It aims to bring together industry leaders and voices and also feature international corporations and influencers in the West African and Nigerian film and TV markets.

“We’ve established strong relationships with distribution titans inside Africa and across the world and have an open forum where members of the C3 Network are given opportunities to sell their content locally and internationally,” Somto Ajuluchukwu, MD of C3 Africa Network, told Content Nigeria.

“With well targeted panel sessions, we create avenues for upstream networking of young producers with major local and international studio executives who we invite as guests. One of our new features is the coproduction pitch, where we provide producers with funding opportunities for ideas to come to life.”

C3 Africa Network promises to reveal trade tips and offer a venue to network and engage in pitch competitions that will help bring stories to the screen.

“C3 Africa doesn’t recognise or make active plans to surpass similar platforms. Our key mission is to add value to producers, buyers and distributors alike, annually across West Africa and, over time, globally. We understand the core problems of local producers and what distributors and buyers are looking for, and we connect the dots annually, not only in Nigeria but the market growing in Accra,” added Ajuluchukwu.

“Our vision is take account for between N300m and N500m in trade, purchase and production value. By 2020, we are amassing those numbers as we are the meeting point for multiple collaborations that have happened in the past year. Also, note that we have been in operation for one year and are about to do our third event.

“However, what drives our market is data. We breath data and that is one of the key criteria in how we structure the event. It’s also shared in our annual magazine, making its maiden launch at this November edition. We are more interested in collaborating with like platforms in formulating a powerful industry than competing.”

Funding, technology and education are three of the elements needed to advance film production, claims Ajuluchukwu. “We need more film schools, we need more technology to make projects and we need larger budgets behind production and exhibition to advance both large and small-scale productions while building more cinemas as the market is under-served,” he said. “The industry needs to be lucrative and liquid, and that only comes from the injection of funds.”

“This gives us, as a platform, the power to steer the growth of the industry with progressive partners with a bird’s eye view of industry best practice and practical data which investors would roll over for. It’s a thought-about process. We plan to be a one of the vertebrae forming the backbone of the industry.”

C3 Africa Network is also partnering with African pay TV group MultiChoice to bring buyers to the market alongside key players for the networking sessions, as well as bringing the international market to meet local partners.

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Animators speak out at NITV

Somto Ajuluchukwu, Ayodele Elegba and Kola Olarewaju at the animation roundtable

Animation is an often-neglected part of Nigeria’s media industry but this is beginning to change, delegates at Nigeria International Television (NITV) Summit heard.

In a roundtable discussion at the Wednesday event, studio heads and animators discussed the uniqueness of the animation industry as well as the challenges.

Mbuotidem Johnson

Speakers included Mbuotidem Johnson, CEO of Basement Animation; Ayodele Elegba, CEO of Spoof Animation; Kola Olarewaju, CEO at Komotion Studios; and Niyi Akinmolayan, CEO of Anthill Studios. The session was moderated by Somto Ajuluchukwu, MD of C3 African Network.

Highlighting the challenges facing the industry, panelists agreed that one of the major issues is electrical power, saying that the use of high-powered computers and other technology necessitates constant light, which is costly in Nigeria.

According to Akinmolayan, talent is also difficult to come by because there are no training schools in Nigeria, so it falls on the animation studios to train animators, which is a long and costly process.

“Finding the right person to do your job is not easy because there are no qualified people and no training schools. Therefore, that responsibility lies on us, so we train and do the job simultaneously because that is the best tactic,” he said.

Agreeing with this, Johnson, who is also the founder of trade body Animation Nigeria, said: “I came from a background of 3D animation but as I considered my options, I switched to 2D. With 2D I can finish a project and train faster. Within a month a trained person can execute 2D renderings well enough, but 3D takes about five to six months of training and you’ve hardly begun.

“Finding investors is also one of the hardest thing to do. So to stay in this industry you have to do things in unusual ways.”

For Akinmolayan, director of The Wedding Party, the right approach to sustaining an animation studio is to get other jobs to keep the cash flowing.

“Do something on the side. I make money as a film director. If you call me to do wedding videos, I will do it. Anything to keep the money flowing in, because animation is a long-term investment and I’m not giving up.”

Olarewaju highlighted the issue of religion and animation. “When we did [short film] Sango, many people said it was fetish. They liked it but would badmouth it because of their religion. They do not see it as a work of art but as something fetish, which is mostly how Nigerians react to something out of the norm,” he said.

“The audience demand in the international market and here in Nigeria varies. Animation in the international market is often created for younger audiences, for under-nines, or nine- to 13-year-olds. However, here it appeals more to adults, so to break the market in Nigeria we are often forced to create content for adults, which is kind of restricting,” said Johnson.

Elegba, also founder of Lagos Comic Con (LCC), advised on the right strategy for getting investors. “If you are only thinking of how good your content is, you will run down,” he said. “You have to think of the business side – think distribution, coproduction, and more.”

LCC, of which Content Nigeria is a media partner, takes place at the Landmark Centre, VI, Lagos on September 15.

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