Netflix and acclaimed Nigerian producer, Mo Abudu, have entered into a groundbreaking multi-title partnership that will continue growing the company’s investment in Nigerian content. Under this partnership, Abudu – through her production company, EbonyLife – will create two Netflix Original series as well as multiple Netflix branded films and a series that have been licensed to the service.
A major highlight of this partnership will be the on-screen adaptations of literary works by two critically-acclaimed Nigerian authors: a series based on contemporary author, Lola Shoneyin’s best-selling debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives and a film adaptation of Death And The King’s Horseman, a play by 1986 Nobel Prize laureate in Literature, author, poet & playwright, Wole Soyinka.
“Mo is at the forefront of creative storytelling in African television. Her passion for creating high-quality, riveting multi-genre films and TV shows that capture the imagination while showcasing the diversity and richness of Nigerian culture is evident in her impressive body of work,” says Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix’s lead for Original Series in Africa. “We’re thrilled about this first-of-its-kind partnership in Africa that will bring some of Nigeria – and Africa’s most iconic storytelling to screen. We look forward to supporting Mo as she brings all these diverse Nigerian stories to the world .”
“As a Nigerian storyteller, my biggest motivator has always been to tell authentic and untold stories that resonate with every person, regardless of where they’re from in the world while showcasing our culture, heritage and creativity,” says Mo Abudu, CEO EbonyLife Media who adds, “This unprecedented partnership is testament to the Netflix’s investment in African storytelling and we at EbonyLife are grateful and excited about the opportunity to work together with the Netflix teams led by Dorothy and Ben to deliver a slate of unique and riveting stories from Nigeria over the next few years for Netflix audiences around the world.” The film adaptation of Death And The King’s Horseman will be among the newly-licensed Netflix branded films. One of the films will premiere on the service in 2020.
“We believe that more people deserve to see their lives reflected on screen and for that to happen, we need to make sure there’s a wide variety of content that caters to our members’ diverse tastes,” says Ben Amadasun, Netflix Director of Licensing and Co-productions for Africa. “Our members around the world have been enjoying some of the licensed titles from EbonyLife like The Wedding Party, Chief Daddy, Castle & Castle and Fifty. I’m excited to continue our licensing partnership with the addition of Netflix branded films titles that will grow the variety of quality Nigerian stories on our service.”
“In a creative industry which, even in pioneering countries, is so male dominated, it is always a delight to see robust challenges offered by the female gender, and of attestable quality. Mo Abudu’s incursion into this arena as film and television producer has been especially stimulating. It becomes part of one’s sense of achievement, if one has contributed, however minutely, to the creation of an enabling environment,” comments Wole Soyinka.
“I was thrilled when Mo contacted me about making a show out of my novel The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. I’d turned down so many offers but this one felt right. It was an opportunity to see my work in the hands of a woman who pursued excellence in Africa in the same way that I did. I grew to trust her very quickly, so when she told me about the possibility of working with Netflix, I was overjoyed. Soon, people everywhere will have access to the story of Baba Segi. And that is more that I could have asked for as a writer,” says Lola Shoneyin