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Shileola Ibironke Calls ‘Kibi Quazi’ A Milestone in Nigerian Animation and African Storytelling

Nigerian animation 'Kibi Quazi' showcases local talent, marking a milestone in African storytelling and creative innovation.

On May 27, 2024, cinemas across Nigeria will come alive with the premiere of ‘Kibi Quazi,’ a groundbreaking animation by Micromedia Animation Studio. This special event was timed perfectly to celebrate Children’s Day, drawing families to theatres to witness the tale of a young African hero.

‘Kibi Quazi’ centres on a 13-year-old boy living in a bustling city with his archaeologist father. His curious nature leads him to discover Gbogan, an ancient deity with explosive powers.

At the heart of this project is Shileola Ibironke, a serial entrepreneur and the dynamic MD and CEO of Micromedia Group of Companies.

As the executive producer of the first independent telenovela drama series in West Africa, ‘Taste of Love,’ and other successful TV series and movies such as ‘Casino,’ ‘Oghenekome,’ and ‘Pamper Me with Love,’ Ibironke has a track record of pioneering achievements. Micromedia Marketing Limited, under her leadership, was the first indigenous company to produce a drama series with 200 episodes in West Africa.

In August 2019, Shileola made history by becoming the first woman to independently own a cinema franchise in Nigeria. Heritage Cinemas, located in Abule-Egba, serves the densely populated areas of Lagos and Ogun. Alongside the cinema, she launched Heritage Superstores & Bakery, providing supplementary services and enhancing the local community.

In an exclusive conversation with Nollywire, Ibironke delved into the creation of ‘Kibi Quazi.’ Ibironke’s enthusiasm was palpable as she recounted the journey. “In our organisation, we own film and drama production, cinemas, and retail centres, and now we have our newest product in town: our animation studio,” she explained. “The value that can be derived from animation is exponentially higher than traditional film projects.”

Ibironke’s vision for this project was clear from the start: to harness and showcase Nigerian talent in a field that had been largely untapped. “I realised that Nigeria wasn’t fully exploring or utilising the animation field,” she said. “There was almost a non-existent production pipeline for full-length animation works. Young creatives were producing great content, but often in short formats that couldn’t compete on the international stage.”

This gap in the market ignited Ibironke’s passion to create stories that are distinctly African. “There’s a major gap in the animation world where we don’t see African heroes or characters originating from Africa,” she noted. “We have comic books and storybooks, but not motion graphics that captivate children like Ben 10 or Naruto.”

Her inspiration took a definitive shape after attending the Animation Festival in Annecy. Determined to bring her vision to life, Ibironke and her team embarked on creating ‘Kibi Quazi’ entirely in Nigeria. “I am excited that ‘Kibi Quazi’ is finally out, and it is 100% made in Nigeria! From our SFX, the drawings, the animation directions, the colouring—every part of it was done here in Lagos.”

The production faced its share of challenges, but these were met with resilience and creativity. “We’ve made mistakes and learned from them, but what we’ve created can match any 2D animation in the world,” Ibironke declared with pride.

‘Kibi Quazi’ is not just an animation; it is a testament to the potential and creativity within Nigeria. It stands as a beacon for future projects, proving that with determination and vision, local talents can produce world-class content. As Nigerian audiences fall in love with Kibi Quazi, the animation opens the door for more African stories to be told on the global stage.

‘Kibi Quazi’ will be available in cinemas on May 27, 2024.

>>> Watch trailer and see more details about titles from this story: Kibi Quazi
>>> Learn more about the people mentioned in this story: Micromedia Animation Studios, Shileola Ibironke
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