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This Video Explores the Rise of Nigeria's Animation Industry

Is animation the future of Nigerian cinema? A new video from BBC Africa, breaks it all down.

For years, Nollywood has been at the forefront of all things Nigerian cinema, but a new video from BBC Africa suggests that the country's animation industry may have the potential to become just as big as Nollywood.

The use of animation in films is steadily rising in the country, propelled by the innovative 2016 3D short film Dawn of Thunder, which tells the ancient story of Sango, the Yoruba god of thunder. The first animated version of Sango appeared in a Marvel Thor Comic from 1982 and then again in a DC comic entailed New Earth in 1990.

Dawn of Thunder, was created by Lagos-based animation house, Komotion Studios, where creators wanted the story of Sango to be told from a uniquely African perspective.


"What we were trying to do, was to tell an African story the African way, using technology and using tools that will be able to portray them properly," says Komotion Studios CEO Kolawole Olarewaju.

"People are kind of realizing now that it's going to be an economy booster in the long run," he continues.

While the industry still has some growing to do before it is fully competitive with Nollywood, the future looks promising.

"Animation is definitely growing at a slower pace than Nollywood in general," says Chioma Onyenwe of the African International Film Festival. "But the audience is growing, the animators are growing, they are getting better. The landscape is easier, so it's easier to learn, you go online—the technology is more accessible."

With the advancements made in Nigeria's animation industry and the upcoming US release of animated films like "Bilal," inspired by the story of the great Ethiopian warrior—who became Islam's first muezzin—it appears that the telling of African narratives through previously unexplored mediums is on the rise.

Learn more about Nigeria's budding animation studios with the short clip below, and head to BBC Africa to watch the full video.

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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