The influx of investment funds into Nigeria, which has largely focused on technology, has hit the entertainment industry – a sector of the Nigerian economy that has been sidelined as the country registers a considerable number of foreign investments.

Lagos-based LaVida Studios secured a $50 million production investment and signed a partnership deal with The Story Lab US, a subsidiary of Dentsu.

“We are thrilled to be working with Dentsu and his team The Story Lab in the United States to bring authentic and compelling African stories to the world,” said Chioma Ude, Founder of AFRIFF and Managing Partner of LaVida Studios.

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The three-year deal with The Story Lab will spawn 10 films and TV properties that will bring African stories to the world stage. Covering both scripted and unscripted film and television projects, the partnership will see production handled by LaVida Studios for all Africa-based production from The Story Lab.

The Story Lab invests in talented creators and producers to develop entertainment that challenges storytelling conventions. It also innovates the way entertainment is packaged, distributed and marketed to reach global audiences.

“It’s partnerships like this that really help move the dial when it comes to discovering and nurturing emerging talent. I am so happy that we can help amplify Africa’s diverse voices alongside our friends at LaVida and AFRIFF,” said Mike Ferry, Director of The Story Lab US.

LaVida is backed by PAC Capital Limited with an initial $50 million for LaVida’s film and television projects, including collaboration with The Story Lab. The funding comes from PAC Capital’s Pan African CCI Fund 1, a $100 million fund dedicated to financing film production and distribution in Africa.

Additionally, LaVida and Dentsu are working to collaborate with the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) to create a joint initiative, which would recruit and support top African writing talent in creating original stories that appeal to global audiences.

“The combination of LaVida’s partnerships with top Nigerian creators and the global network and Dentsu’s presence will serve as a bridge between these top content creators and the global market through this collaboration. We are honored to bring these stories to the world,” said Geneva Wasserman, Executive Vice President and Head of Scripted Content, The Story Lab US.

LaVida Studios and Chioma Ude are represented by CAA and The Story Lab US is represented by UTA.

Nollywood in Nigeria is the second largest film sector in the world with a projected value of $6.4 billion in 2021. It is also the largest in Africa in terms of value, number of annual films, revenue and popularity – producing around 2,500 films a year.

In recent years, the industry has seen a new phase of sketch production led by young talent. With the growing popularity of short films that are increasingly adding millions of dollars to the industry’s market value, investors should follow The Story Lab’s steps in betting more money on Nigerian film companies.