Nigeria first feature-length 3D animated film inks international distribution deal

Nigeria first feature-length 3D animated film inks international distribution deal

Afro-Urban entertainment powerhouse, Trace, has begun distributing “Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters”—a Nigeria feature-length 3D animated film—after inking a deal with Hot Ticket Productions to distribute the film globally.

According to a report by Quartz, Trace’s distribution arm inked a deal with Hot Ticket Productions to distribute Nigeria’s first feature-length 3D animated film, “Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters”, worldwide – opening the door to a potential global audience for an animation that was conceived in the home of a Nigerian geologist.

Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters joins other African animation projects that are attracting global interest
Trace asserted in the film’s admission that “the animation film is booming in Africa thanks to the determination of real enthusiasts for drawing and animation.”

“The release of the first Nigerian feature-length, cinematic animation film, Ladybuckit, and the Motley Mopsters, opened the doors to animation in Nigeria,” Trace said.

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With “Lady Buckit” gaining industry traction, the film’s executive producer Blessing Amidu is chalking up her first win in the animation industry.

For Amidu, however, making the movie meant a lot more than just the production. It also meant an entire career change, pivoting from geologist to filmmaker.

“They may seem like two separate worlds but in fact, they are not. The ‘Art’ is who I am and the ‘Geologist’ was whom I had to become to survive,” she explained in an interview.

Amidu launched the groundbreaking film in December, 2020.

Set in pre-colonial Oloibiri, Delta State in South-South Nigeria town where crude oil was first discovered in commercial quantities in the 1950s – a curious eight-year-old gets accidentally gets transported through time only to encounter a band of highly unusual characters who change the course of her destiny.

The movie’s premiere wowed Nigeria and has been winning global accolades from both movie buffs and critics.

Despite its relatively low budget, the anime grossed more revenue in Nigeria than the well-oiled, Pixar’s animated fantasy comedy-drama film, Soul, which hit the cinemas around the same time.

Adebisi Adetayo, who directed the movie from the story developed by Stanlee Ohikhuare says that the animation movie is proof; that a great film doesn’t have to mimic Hollywood to be phenomenal.

“Lady Buckit” transcends generations, with both kids and adults able to relate with both the storyline and the characters.

Its success, despite being released in the midst of a raging global pandemic suggests a coming of age of a new genre from Nigeria’s much-touted “Nollywood” film industry.

The animation features Black characters in their different shades of skin tones. The movie’s dialogue also proudly incorporated Nigeria’s vernaculars Ijaw, Pidgin, and Yoruba in addition to English.

The animated film featured voice actors including veterans, Patrick Doyle; Bimbo Akintola; Kalu Igweagu; newcomers Kelechi Udegbe; Awazi Angbalaga; as well as child actors, Jessica Edwards; David Edwards; and also David Akpapkwu.

Every story coming out of that place [Niger Delta] has been that of violence, deprivation, suffering, and poverty; for people living in that region. So coming up with this story sort of changes that narrative.

For Amidu, the importance of “Lady Buckit’ is also how it is able to change the narrative in and on Nigeria; with its setting in the country’s southeast.

“Every story coming out of that place [Niger Delta] has been that of violence, deprivation, suffering, and poverty for people living in that region. So coming up with this story sort of changes that narrative. Here we get to see Oloibiri in a different light. It shows that this girl despite all the challenges is able to overcome them and excel,” she said.

The animated feature also, she believes, has the power to change the narrative on Africa’s film industry.

“Coming back to Africa, no part of this production was done out of Nigeria. You can take this production anywhere; and it will be able to fly. Nobody thought we could do animation; leave alone 3D animation,” she said.

Following the success of “Lady Buckit”, Amidu and her new production studio are just getting started; with an idea for a sequel is already in the works.

Animation—which was projected to reach $270 billion by 2020—is still a budding industry in Nigeria.

 

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