Throughout the formative years, African children are exposed to western media content which for the most part promotes the western culture and way of life, at the expense of Africa’s history. After going through the childhood years of watching western movies that talks about things like Greek history and mythology, Nissi Ogulu decided to make a business from telling Africa’s story the animated way with Creele Animation Studios.
Speaking during the Nairametrics Business Half Hour, Founder and managing director of animations at Creele studios, Nissi Ogulu explained that Creele Animations came in a perfect way to combine all of her interests into a single business. “From a personal angle, I have always been very in tune with arts from being a child loving animated content and drawing comics and also being immersed with playing instruments and singing. I have my educational background in mechanical engineering, and I have always had the plans to merge the things that I know how to do in creating a business,” she said.
The dearth of wholly African animated content also meant that there was a huge market waiting for their content, thus making it a worthwhile business venture. Many African children born in the diaspora also hunger for some sort of story and content to give them insight into their history.
With this inspiration, Nissi Ogulu started Creele Animation Studios in 2017, to create content from motion pictures and sounds of the best quality, to represent authentic African history and stories, while appealing to the global audience.
Right after, Creele embarked on its first collaborative project, The Satchel, which is now set for release. The Satchel is a 3D animated movie adapted from the Yoruba historical myths of the earth’s creation, particularly the fierce battle between the children of Olodumare (the supreme ruler), Obatala and Oduduwa as they struggle for the all-powerful Satchel to create a new kingdom.
Early reviews of the work show that it presents a wholesome representation of the African deities and myths, as against the vague picture which the millennial generation has had through the years.
The business of animation creation, like most other start-ups, requires funds. For Creele Animation studios, the initial funding came from the Founder’s savings, and later from providing direct animations and games services to clients. The collaborative project was funded by all partners on the project, with some angel investors coming in along the way.
Ogulu explains that there are other intending investors and partners for future projects, however, Creele Animation studios will be careful of potential partnerships it enters into for distribution and production.
“While we are open to partnerships that will take us outside of Africa, we are wary of falling into partnerships that will take us away from producing core African content which is reminiscent of our culture. There is an appeal for more black/African based stories given the lack of it so far, and we see people leaning towards more African based stories like Black Panther and the Lion King, and this is the vacuum we want to focus on,” she said.
Creele Animations is also exploring several revenue streams within the industry in streaming, merchandising, sales, IPs and other direct services while focusing on the expansion of the brand in the coming years.
Although animation content was initially targeted at children, one finds that in recent times, there is a global appeal across all age groups and social strata. Starting from childhood, people start assimilating these contents and as they grow older it influences the way they view lives and they view themselves.
Creele animations will use its productions to balance out the ubiquity of western content, helping Africans to know about their mythology and history, and reforming the minds of children and adults through this medium.
“Animation is the form of media that cannot be limited. It can go as far as the imagination can go so we are not limited to any time frame. We can tell stories from the past and the future, and create all kinds of experiences. I believe it will be very important in the education system; in teaching us more about our history and in opening the world of arts and technology in our schools as we go along and the industry begins to develop more,” Ogulu said.
Created by Taeps Animation Studios and Creele Animation Studios, “The Satchel” was directed by Nissi Ogulu and written by Jimi Oremule while Adeoyin Okuboyejo and Ayobami Bello joined the crew of producers. As The Satchel takes the first position in what is expected to become a long list of core African productions, the continent can now look forward to an animated retelling of the African story by Africans.