GUEST COLUMNIST BY Andreas Wiseman
Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith’s Westbrook Studios is teaming up with EbonyLife Studios, one of Nigeria’s leading content companies, on a slate of co-produced film and television projects each connected to the African continent.
The deal is the first of its kind for Westbrook in Africa. Under the partnership, the companies will produce at least two series and one film, including the below projects:
Dada Safaris is an ‘Afropolitan’ dramedy series. It follows four best friends who, after finding themselves at personal and career dead ends, take a leap to the wild side when one of them inherits her late husband’s long-forgotten family-owned safari lodge and invites her friends to join her newfound purpose- renovating and relaunching the business.
In The Gods, a pair of married Cambridge professors set out to find answers to a surge of natural disasters, but find seven long forgotten African gods instead. Enlisting the help of two divine African children who can communicate with the immortals, the unlikely team must find the secret behind the awakening of the gods before the world as they know it is forever changed.
Are We Getting Married? is a comedy feature set in the U.S. and tells the story of the daughter of an embarrassingly wealthy Nigerian family who falls in love with a nerdy but charming African American from Atlanta and their decision to get married. While the couple hopes for an intimate ceremony, their parents have other ideas, and they are faced with the option of either standing their ground or agreeing to have the big Yoruba by way of Atlanta wedding they never wanted.
As we revealed last month, Westbrook’s recent expansion includes an international pact with Israel’s Euphoria producer Tedy Productions. EbonyLife has previously struck deals with studios including Netflix and Sony Pictures TV.
Westbrook Studios SVP, Head of International TV & Film, Eli Shibley, said: “As we set out to focus our initial slate of international content for the studio business across a diversified set of key territories and regions, the creative energy and world class artistry coming out of Africa is absolutely undeniable. We are thrilled to be working with a best-in-class producer like Mo and her EbonyLife team to tell stories that uniquely celebrate African characters and perspectives and resonate with fans of great film and television around the world.”
“We all dream of lofty goals becoming a reality, then one day those dreams come true,” added EbonyLife CEO, Mo Abudu. “I’m proud to announce that our vision of EbonyLife Studios being in partnership with Will and Jada’s Westbrook Studios is now real. Westbrook‘s goal is to create and curate powerful and inclusive content. This is completely in line with our vision at EbonyLife – to tell global African stories from our perspective. Together, we will be developing a slate of projects that reflect our shared goals. We are beyond excited!”
Westbrook’s TV projects include the recently announced Amend: The Fight for America, a six-part docu-series about the Fourteenth Amendment, and a two-season order for Bel-Air, the dramatic reboot of Will Smith’s iconic The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air from Peacock.