Idris Elba and Mo Abudu Team Up to Launch Free Media Academy in Africa

idris elba mo abudu

Idris Elba and Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu have teamed up to launch a film and TV joint venture, aimed at backing new projects and up-and-coming talent from Africa and the African diaspora.

The partnership between Elba’s Green Door Pictures and Abudu’s EbonyLife Media will empower and uplift talent from Africa and the diaspora by supporting up-and-coming creatives and executives from those communities. The aim is to build capacity and foster authentic representation in the international industry, giving stories from Africa and its diaspora the same level of attention and respect as other cultures and communities.

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Elba and Abudu said that their production slate would focus on “authentic, Afro-centric stories” that can resonate with audiences around the world. Projects ranging from feature films to series for television or streaming partners will be set up as co-productions between Green Door Pictures and EbonyLife Media.

In addition to backing new projects, the joint venture will also provide education to up-and-comers, training and empowering African talent to enter the entertainment industry. They plan to roll out EbonyLife’s creative academy in Lagos across the continent, providing support to graduates of the program and fast-tracking them to hands-on production. The academy is set to open its doors in January 2024, and will offer courses in areas such as directing, screenwriting, producing, and acting.

“I have always been passionate about using my platform to make a positive impact,” said Elba. “By partnering with Mo, we aim to offer free, world-class industry education to the next generation of storytellers and bring their authentic voices to the forefront. This partnership is a step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse media landscape, one that represents the voices and experiences of Africa and its diaspora around the world.”

Eba’s Green Door Pictures has produced projects such as the 2015 documentary Mandela, My Dad and Me, the 2017 mini-series Guerrilla for Showtime and the 2020 Western feature Concrete Cowboy for Netflix. They have a first look deal with Apple to produce both series and features for AppleTV+.

Abudu’s EbonyLife Media is one of the largest and most successful production companies in Africa, behind such series as Netflix’s Blood Sisters and Biyi Bandele’s Elesin Oba: The King’s Horseman. The company has several high-profile projects in the works, including Queen Nzinga, a series on an 17th century African warrior queen, and a feature film set up together with Will Packer Productions at Universal Pictures, on the life of Nigerian Instagram influencer and notorious scam artist Ramon Abbas, also known as Ray Hushpuppi.
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“We believe that Africa has the talent and the stories to captivate the world,” said Abudu. “It’s our mission to offer the best in industry education, mentorship and production opportunities, so that our graduates can become valuable contributors to the global media landscape. We plan to hit the ground running and explore the very best that African and Black stories have to offer global audiences.”

The joint venture will foster more authentic representation in the global entertainment industry and bring African and Black stories to the forefront, offering a more inclusive and diverse media landscape for audiences around the world.

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