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‘The Nigerian market is ripe for animation movies, and our LBMM is the beginning’

In a few months’ time, the Nigerian movie industry will be witnessing the release of the country’s first feature length animation movie. In this interview, Blessing Amidu, the producer and executive producer of the 3D animation movie, tells OBINNA EMELIKE why the animation genre is beginning to trend in Nigeria, the movie target, challenges and other related issues.

Congratulations on the movie Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters ( LBMM). Is the movie your first?

Yes, this is the first movie that I am producing/ executive producing.

Why did you produce the movie in 3D animation, is animation beginning to get good appeal and market in Nigeria?

Although it is a niche market, Nigerians are starting to warm up to the animation genre. I guess we have the likes of Disney and Pixar to thank for that. Movies like Frozen and Moana turned out to be box office hits in Nigeria. We have also had stints from very creative minds within our shores. On the whole, I would say yes, the market is indeed ripe and this is just the beginning.

Most animation movies feature city landscapes, why set in Oloibiri?

The movie is a nod to Nigeria’s history and Oloibiri plays a key role within this context.

What is Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters all about?

Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters is a Nigerian feature length 3D animation movie set in Oloibiri, in today’s Bayelsa State. The movie protagonist is a self indulgent little girl who unexpectedly finds herself in the midst of very unusual company. Here, she must navigate the intricacies of unconventional friendships and personal growth. The movie is woven around themes of friendship, family, bullying and hygiene. It is quirky, it has something for everyone and is suitable for all ages.

Why a female protagonist?

We opted for a female protagonist as a means of empowering the African girl child. We wish to provide on screen representation for African girls, thereby demonstrating that they too can be heroes.

You have great cast whose voices made the animation thick, how did you get them to play in animation, a movie genre most of them are not used to and how rewarding is it for them?

Honestly, it did not take much convincing to get them to play in Nigeria’s very first feature length animation movie. I think they were excited to be a part of something historical. There is also the fact that creatives generally tend to be flexible, so they were quite open to taking on an unfamiliar genre. To ease them in, we decided to get them an animation voice coach. They actually deserve more credit than we generally tend to give.

Animations are usually targeted at children, are they still the target for the movie?

Yes. Children are our primary target but also there is a child in every adult. By and large, there is something in there for everyone, and so all ages will find the movie relatable.

Judging by the reviews of those who have seen the movie teaser, what are their opinions about the movie?

We have had quite amazing feedback- the most recurring being how impressive the visuals are. Many are glad to see Nigeria finally get more representation in the genre, and they can’t wait to see the movie.

What are the challenges in producing animation, is it more difficult and expensive than normal movies?

Animation is exponentially more expensive than other movie genres. This has been the foremost challenge thus far. Another hurdle was finding a studio here in Nigeria, which had the right balance of skill and manpower required for the job. Thankfully, we have been able to tackle these issues.

When are you releasing the movie and on which platforms considering that cinemas are still closed?

The intended release date is just a few months away and we hope that by then, some normalcy would have been restored to the movie industry, enough to have a theatrical release. We are working to make the movie accessible to every Nigerian who wishes to see it. This means that we are targeting online streaming platforms as well.

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