We are on a mission to unearth the best stories Africa has to offer, package them in a form that is universally acceptable using art and technology as tools, and finally deliver it to a global audience as entertaining content. We are creating these with the intention of preserving our cultures and heritage, educating as well as pass on important messages through this medium.
We kicked off with DAWN OF THUNDER which is a 3d animated project which will eventually have a feature film spinoff, probable series, console game releases and much more. We have other plans that we can’t reveal just yet.
WHAT IS THE “DAWN OF THUNDER”?
The Dawn of Thunder is an attempt at retelling the ancient story of Sango for a new generation and a global audience. Sango is well known as the god of thunder and the third Alaafin (King) of Oyo Kingdom in Nigeria. One would liken Sango to the Norse god of Thunder Thor, but it can be argued that the former may be responsible for or directly influenced the existence of the latter. However Thor gained more popularity, thanks to MARVEL Comics who embellished him with a superhero status which has translated to comics, movies, and merchandising worth Billions of Dollars, and has amassed a huge following all over the world.
When we embarked on this particular project we decided to make it an origin story. Why? First, because it makes sense to start from the very beginning…secondly, because we knew that all accounts of him were based on his adulthood, and someone so powerful and multilayered needed to have a very interesting past. Since his childhood was never documented, we would take creative licence as well as an understanding of the culture to weave an exciting yet authentic story leading up to his famed disappearance.
From the onset we knew it had to be much bigger than just another entertaining series. For many years entertainment has been used as an instrument to pass on vital messages that on their own may be ignored by the general public. With Nigerian culture in particular getting extinct by the day, some of our ancient life-saving practices and globally beneficial traditions have been long forgotten. We intend to use this medium as an educative tool to give some insight on how vital treasures of information on our culture can directly affect our world positively. We want to use the DAWN OF THUNDER to integrate culture into the global development Agenda. While entertaining lovers of fresh content, we hope to give our small quota to improving cultural tourism, preserve vital and globally beneficial traditions, and play our part to try to change the world one episode at a time.
WHY SANGO? AND WHY IS IT IN YORUBA?
Sango is one of the most recognizable and relatable deities in Africa. His first notable appearance and global debute as “Shango” was in a Marvel Thor Comic in 1982 one of the Òrìshàs, a race of extra-dimensional beings, After which he was seen in a DC Firestorm comic in 1990. His most popular Rendition in Nigeria was in a movie aptly titled Sango: The Legendary African King, starring Wale Adebayo as Sango, shot in 1997.
The idea to actually create an animated series came back in 2010 when the Founder of Komotion Studios, Kolawole Olarewaju, created a 3d art piece based on Sango. The image became very popular on the internet and sparked conversations from many who saw it. They all wanted to see an animated movie…someone had to do it.
We decided that in order to feel the authenticity of the story, it needed to be told in the actual language being used at the time. We grew up watching a lot of Indian and Chinese movies with subtitles,and these movies were heavily based on their culture, yet we loved them. Ours shouldn’t be any different.
Our culture in Nigeria is slowly dying with each generation. Our stories and the foundations on which our cultures are built are being ignored. Everyone seems to turn their backs on their past and neglect anything that links us to it. The present and future is all that matters to us, but how do we move forward if we have no idea where we are coming from? How do we have an identity as Africans if we don’t know anything about our heritage? The truth is we have been consuming a lot of content from the Western part of the world for far too long.While the one way cultural exchange has its benefits,it feels imbalanced that we know so much about their culture and adopt it as our identity, and they know next to nothing about us. There is no reason our content should be looked down upon or termed “local”. It’s our history and it’s who we are as a people. We decided to use this as an eye opener, and a catalyst to encourage other content creators to focus on telling our own stories in ways that can be globally appealing.
FOREIGN RENDITIONS OF SANGO
NIGERIAN RENDITIONS OF SANGO
HOW WAS THE “DAWN OF THUNDER” SHORT FILM CREATED?
It took about a full year of planning, asset building and structuring a suitable team of talented individuals to execute the short film within a 2 month period. Most of the team worked remotely as not all were in Lagos, but we were able to work in sync all the time. We were working with our gut and hoping we would be able to meet the goals we had set for our selves in terms of timing and Quality. To speed up the animation process, we decided on a hybrid use of Motion capture and traditional animation but not everything we needed was available/cheap. We reached out to motion capture companies Dynamixyz and Noitom who graciously supported our project as much as they could till the very end…without their belief in the DAWN OF THUNDER it may never have been completed successfully. There was also a surprising number of Nigerians who reached out to be part of the project pro bono. All the external support, a lot of sleepless nights, cans of energy drinks and continuous passion eventually led us to complete the project successfully, in record time and budget.
HOW MUCH DID IT COST TO PRODUCE “DAWN OF THUNDER”?
A short film project like DAWN OF THUNDER would usually be EXPENSIVE. But since it was an internal passion project, we had the talent and resources to pull it off at no cost to us except for power generation. We backed a kickstarter project 2 years ago and got our first motion capture suit. Software licences and tech support also came free from companies that believed in what we were trying to do. The level of collaboration and support we got from friends, benefactors and tech companies were on a scale that we never expected and simply overwhelmed us.
Massively positive. We have had people from all over the world loving the short film we recently put out. Even though the Animated short film was in yoruba, it didn’t seem to matter to anyone. We realized quickly that it was bigger than tribe, bigger than race…the world has subconsciously been yearning for African content that was true to the source but still delivered on the entertainment. Dawn of thunder was an experiment to see if the World and Nigerians were ready to indigenous animated content created by Nigerians. As an experiment it was a huge success and a strong indicator to forge ahead.
IS IT GOING TO BE A FULL LENGTH MOVIE OR SERIES?
We are presently gunning for a feature length movie. The movie will focus on Sango’s legacy as the Alaafin of Oyo, his battles, conquests, challenges and his eventual disappearance. After which we intend to create a series which will span 3 SEASONS of about 10 EPISODES each. The running time per episode should be about 15 minutes. Once we gain a loyal fan-base we will focus on creating a video/mobile game for a more personal entertainment experience.
WHAT ARE THE FUNDING OPTIONS?
Animation in Nigeria, and Africa in general is growing at a steady pace. What we are doing with the DAWN OF THUNDER is quite new and unconventional. We are open to possible funding for this project from brands whose identity aligns with the our vision, entertainment companies and producers who are seeking fresh and unique content. We are also open to co-producing partnerships with Production and Distribution companies if possible. We believe DAWN OF THUNDER has the potential to kickstart a blossoming animation industry that can compete internationally and directly impact the economy.
CONCLUSION AND HOW EVERYONE CAN SUPPORT
DAWN OF THUNDER short film was released on the 26th of August 2017.Since then and currently still, it has been creating serious conversations around the world. We are humbled and grateful for the outpouring of love from all of you. We thank you for appreciating the hard work that went into this to make it a reality. We realize that a project such as this hasn’t been done before in this part of the world, but we ask you to trust us.