I discovered my passion for animation at the tender age of seven
Growing up in the south eastern part of Nigeria, story-tellingwas part of my communal life. These stories were mostly handed down orally. As a child whose biggest companions were the “Charlie Brown” comics crew, I developed a very strong urge to extend this companionship to involve the heroes in my orally-handed-down stories told mostly by moonlight or around a crackling fire. I yearned for a medium through which I could share these heroes with “the rest of the world”. These yearnings solidified my dreams of going into animation film-making.
However, due to the absence of film schools in Nigeria at that time, this dream could not materialize, so I studied Graphic design/Illustration after which I started looking for ways and places to gain knowledge in animation film-making. Finally in the year 2000, I was able to migrate to Germany where I undertook a further training in 2D Cartoon Animation at the International Film School Cologne.
Since my graduation in 2003, I have worked as a studio animator, an independent director/producer of own shorts and a Producer in a German-Bulgarian co-production, (Anna Blume) winner of the 2007 Robert Bosch Foundation Promotional Prize for Animation. Along the way, I have also been able to develop some of my childhood-inspired ideas, in pursuancen of my dreams. One reality though is hard to overlook: living in Germany, it has not been possible so far to come across platforms which showed much interest or believed in animated stories with African backgrounds and setting.
Having felt a strong need to put my motivation, experiences and goals in one basket, I contacted Shrinkfish Ltd, an animation production studio in Nigeria requesting that they get involved as producers and the idea of “The Legacy of Rubies” was born. The main goal is to create a cultural exchange between Europe and Africa through Animation exploring the possibilities of creative stories inspired by our backgrounds social environments. It is also my intention to delve into stories inspired by African folklores: to create awareness of these through cinematographic interpretations which lie within the realms of the current globalized social lifestyles “The Legacy of Rubies”, is the very first of the numerous planned productions of this nature between the two countries.
Finally, looking at the structure of most film festivals in places like Europe, Asia and North America, it is clear to see that animation films which are based on such African stories or are playing in the African environment are either underrepresented or totally missing. Hence “The Legacy of Rubies”, is targeting such festivals with a special focus on the likes of the Berlinale, Sundance, Cannes, Rotterdam International Film festival, Filmfest Dresden, DOK Leipzig etc . Through such means, a new awareness of the possibilities of cultural exchange through Animation especially between the so-called underdeveloped countries and Europe will be created.
Every support from any angle in whatever form towards realizing this dream is very much appreciated.