Afreximbank, an African import-export bank, recently closed a deal with Silverbird Entertainment at the Africa Investment Forum to build the largest recorded film and TV studio in West Africa. At the end of 2021, the bank’s total assets and guarantees stand at roughly $25 billion, and its shareholder funds $4 billion.
Named the Ben Murray-Bruce Studios and Film Academy (BMB Studios and Film Academy), the complex will house a comprehensive studio coupled with an educational institution – for both national and international students – to develop the skills of individuals seeking to enter the industry. Areas such as cinematography, directing, filmmaking, gaming, music, post-production techniques, producing, screenwriting, VFX, and animation, will all be taught.
The 32,725 sq m facility in Eko Atlantic City will have numerous elements alongside the education academy including, two large sound stages, a digital hub with music and broadcast studios, editing bays with numerous suites, production offices, screening rooms, and a sizable studio backlot for outdoor sets.
The project is planned to be a big boost to the current film and TV sector within Nigeria and across the region, ultimately aiming to attract large productions to Nigeria, increase the skills of local talent, and attract international talent.
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Mrs Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President of Intra African Trade Bank commented: “The deal we are signing today is of the utmost importance, not only for the significant support it provides to Africa’s burgeoning film industry, but especially because of the studio’s multipurpose potential to serve a range of sectors in the creative industries, from music and film to gaming and virtual reality. At Afreximbank, we recognise the power of Africa’s youth and creative talents to catalyse Africa’s trade, create millions of jobs and promote the emergence of national and regional value chains. This industry is bankable, and we aim to support its growth, expansion, and sustainability. Afreximbank is proud to support this project.”
Another area of growth around the project is the country’s growing construction empire. Henry Goudreau a seasoned contractor that has taught contractors and construction professionals all around the world through his Golden Hard Hat Mentoring Program said it is another element that is often overlooked in the development of regions.
“Often we pay so much attention to what is being built we forget about who is building it.” He said. “The growth of construction infrastructure and planning across Western Africa over the last couple of years has been impressive. We have trained people all over to become contraction professionals and take advantage of the need for the growth of the construction trade in areas around the globe.”
Founding HG Associates, Goudreau is bullish on the opportunities in the sector specifically in developing nations and regions. “Whether it’s in North America or abroad, construction isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it’s ramping up like never before. The current climate provides a lot of opportunities to teach best practices.”
Silverbird Group founder, Ben Murray-Bruce, opined that the development will accelerate the rapid growth of Africa’s creative sector.
“From Netflix NFLX to Madison Square Gardens in New York, audiences are revelling in the magic of African storytelling. Now more than ever does the African continent need the world-class technical skills and facilities that will propel our creative industries to the next level. The BMB Studios and Film Academy is a response to this need and one that I believe will be a catalyst to driving agility, expertise and innovation in the African film and television industries.”
He added that the business models within the studio for revenue growth will be varied to account for the versatility of creative industries within the studio’s walls.
“The Studio will be an environment where content can be produced, managed, and distributed digitally. The technical infrastructure will be the most advanced in West Africa designed to handle the large bandwidth demands of media businesses; future-proofed to manage the expansion in new media content.”
“We are creating a truly global platform for excellence in filmmaking, storytelling, and professional development. By 2030, I want the BMB Studios and Film Academy to represent the very pinnacle of what a studio and educational institution can be.”