The ancient city of Kano comes alive in this gripping tale of ‘The Passport of Mallam Ilia’. Set in 19th century Africa, it is a cautionary tale of love, conquest and betrayal. The movie features the late Sadiq Daba, Toyin Oshinaike, Dija and a host of other exceptional talents in the movie industry.
This is Africa’s first indigenous 2D feature-length animated film by Magic Carpet Studios. The movie is an adaptation based upon the best-selling classic novel written by the late celebrated writer Cyprian Ekwensi in 1960.
According to the producer and CEO of Magic Carpet Studios, Mr Ferdy Ladi Adimefe, “The book was chosen due to its significance in the African Literary space; a short, easy-to-digest, young adult book, covering the pre-independence realities of what is now Northern Nigeria but was then the Northern emirate in a pre-colonial era. More so, it was used across West Africa as part of the Africa Writers Series and most Africa in the Diaspora, and the global audience will connect. If you see the quality of the teaser we put out, you realize we don’t want to tell a domestic story, but a global story and this has the recipe.”
(click to view trailer; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRadByJb0Mw)
The global demand for animation themed stories is on the rise, and with this rush in demand comes a huge opportunity to explore the African animation industry. Currently, the total value of the global animation industry stands at Two Hundred and Seventy ($270) billion dollars (PR Newswire 2018).
In consideration of the lucrative potential that the animation industry holds, the studio recently commenced a roadshow to fundraise Two ($2) million dollars for the completion of the movie. Speaking about the roadshow, Mr Adimefe said, “We are using our 5th year anniversary to host investors and treat them to an exciting magical evening. Anyone who knows the slightest thing about animation knows just how expensive and difficult it can be to produce. We do have faith that aside from the viability of the project the cultural impact value will resonate with many”.
Industry experts and enthusiasts have often described Magic Carpet Studios as the “Disney of Africa”. The Studio kicked off operations officially in 2016 with a vision to tell authentic African-themed stories through animation that are relevant to Africans and the world at large.
As an innovative storytelling company, Magic Carpet Studios brings animated characters to life through a convergence of striking visual artistry, creativity and storytelling with the aim of giving our audience a unique experience. Its goal is to make great films with great people. We are excited to be working with talented people, combining masterful artistry and storytelling with groundbreaking technology. Developing capacity is essential for this and creating space for both male and female artists to participate is important to us. In the last one year, we have trained over 100 animators as part of our commitment to building this industry and remain committed to developing human capital, particularly in the field of animation, game development, illustrators, scriptwriters, and digital skills in Africa. We are working to create jobs, nurture indigenous content, and ensure cultural preservation.”
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We also launched our Magic Lab Project in conjunction as our modest aim is to train at least 50 animators every year.
Mr Abayomi Awobokun who chairs the board of The Ilia Project SPV, and the Magic Carpet Studios also said, “Magic Carpet took this project on because of the quality of the material. The team has done a great job in securing the IPs and getting the assets ready. It is a world-class story and production.”
Among the investors on board is Temple Production, the CEO of Temple Production, Ego Boyo stated, “The African creative industry is a melting pot of unimaginable content and IP products ready to erupt on the international scene. I read the Passport of Mallam Ilia, and when I was introduced to the project, I requested to see the script and to walk through the story bible. I found the effort very commendable and the script impressive. This is why Temple Production decided to come on board. The promise of the project is huge, and we are here not just to participate as an investor, but to provide guidance to deliver this to the world. I do think any investor in entertainment needs to participate in this project”.
We built our philosophy as a studio on the premise of creating authentic African stories for a global audience and we firmly believe that it is only through originality and authenticity that we can put our continent on the global map of entertainment.
According to the COO Mr Toju Olufeyimi, “This story has all the elements in it. If you want to see more representation on-screen, are in search of new and unique stories, or you love or want to learn more about African culture, history, and mythology, then we are making this for you. We know it is now time to move into the realm of a full-length 2D and 3D fusion animation movie. We want to tell a great African story in a format that the current generation understands; animation, and most importantly, we want to add to the universe by creating cultural pride, training African animators and showing the world what they can achieve by putting African content on the global map.”
Mr Adimefe also said, “As a studio, we perceive our role as that of prophets painting tapestries of an Africa that has not yet been heard or seen, we may be interpreting events of the past or coming from the future, but it is about transforming the imagination of humans; it is such a powerful role to be a custodian of the vision, values and agenda for an entire generation. We believe we have a duty to enlighten the African mind for the 21st century, by driving consciousness through elevating and expanding conversations around difficult themes, cherished assumptions and accepted but outdated practices and beliefs. We enjoy stimulating the mind and imagination of our people to see beyond potential into new realities and possibilities around them, pushing boundaries, upturning stereotypes and bringing baskets of wealth to the door of the common man.”