Storyland Studios, the experience design and production studio with offices in the US and Europe, has been selected to master plan and design a film city and entertainment industry campus, a sprawling, first-of-its-kind film industry hub in Lagos, Nigeria.
The project sponsor, Del York International Group in partnership with the Lagos State Government, is in the advanced stages of development. The project aims to position the state as a focal point for the entertainment industry–primarily film–and its peripheral industries, where both new and traditional media will be produced and celebrated for generations to come.
The facility is envisioned as a sanctuary of leisure, entertainment, and learning; a place where film and all types of creative industry professionals can live, work, and learn in a serene and conducive environment with best-in-class facilities intermingled with amenities and infrastructure that support a modern sustainable city.
“Our team is thrilled to have been chosen for this unique opportunity,” said Mel McGowan, Founder and Chief Creative Officer at Storyland Studios. “We’re excited to be part of the further development of Nigeria’s incredibly prolific and rapidly-growing film industry.”
“The industry has long desired a home, that special place on the continent that would galvanize our young people to a new hope whilst igniting the fire of their creativity,” said Linus Idahosa, President and Founder of Del York International Group. “The continent’s burgeoning community of creatives have long been inspired through the magic of film and television, spiriting themselves into worlds they never thought possible, but curtailed by their immediate circumstances.
“With this agreement in place, we can finally realize that purpose designed infrastructure that will match the dreams and most expansive imaginations of these young people on the African continent. I believe we have been specially chosen by providence to make this project a reality for our community and continent. From the onset, our focus was to partner with a world leader with a track record of successful projects from across the world, and more so with a heart for Africa. Storyland Studios was the perfect fit.
“Africa is the next big destination for the film and creative industry and with the phenomenon that is Nollywood, Lagos is its epicentre. The film city project will provide an enduring ecosystem of value and a home where creatives from across the continent can come together to live, work, and learn in an environment that sustainably supports enterprise.”
As founder of the Del York Creative Academy (DCA), Idahosa is passionate about repositioning and transforming Nigeria’s film and media landscape to forge stronger connections with global audiences. The DCA is Africa’s foremost capacity building establishment for the film and creative industry and is at the forefront of creating sustainable impact in the continent’s movie industry.
Building on the Momentum of “Nollywood”
The Nigerian film industry, known as “Nollywood,” has a projected annual growth rate of 8.6%, the industry accounts for ₦ 853.9 billion ($7.2 billion), or 1.42% of the Nigerian GDP. More than one million people are employed by Nollywood, either directly or adjacent to the industry. Next to agriculture, it is Nigeria’s largest job market.
“Nollywood is one of the world’s largest film industries in terms of production volume,” said Ubong Eton, Digital Storyteller at Storyland Studios. “Lagos is home to most of the productions, but there’s no proper infrastructure that can cater effectively to the industry.”
For the first time, the Lagos film city will establish the infrastructure Nollywood needs to grow and thrive beyond its current capacity. Storyland will be engaged in master planning the film city and entertainment industry campus. The firm will also deliver a feasibility study to right-size the space requirements and warranted investment.
“The Lagos film city concept is a cultural, creative ecosystem that will be a catalyst not only for the country of Nigeria but for Africa,” said McGowan. “It will be not only a world-class production studio facility but also a visitor attraction. There will be an extensive production facility, in addition to an education component to develop talent from across the continent.”
The Lagos Film City Vision
The vision for the Lagos film city concept is a modern, Hollywood-style complex inspired by the magic of film. It aims to create not only a production haven for Nollywood and international filmmakers but also a one-of-a-kind leisure destination for travellers and film enthusiasts alike.
The film city’s campus will be located in Lagos’ Epe area, at Ejirin City. The 100-hectare, mixed-use campus will have the capacity to support anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 daily visitors. Both production, post-production, and editing facilities and services will be housed on campus, open to both local and international filmmakers. There will also be educational facilities, including a Creative Academy for film students.
Peripheral infrastructure will include housing and shopping for residents and visitors working in the industry. In addition, the Lagos film city will appeal to tourists from all over the globe. There will be dining, shopping, lodging, leisure, and recreational offerings that include an amusement park, water park, and a variety of attractions, shows, and rides for visitors of all ages. Film enthusiasts will be able to visit the Nollywood Walk of Fame, the Nigerian Movie Repository, and the Museum of Movie History.
The film city will be designed with aesthetics and sustainability in mind, leveraging environmentally-friendly materials, modern features, and elements of the natural world. Lush gardens, artificial lakes, and attractive parks will add to the campus’ aesthetic appeal.
The project has gone through the initial concept and planning stages and has now entered its implementation stages and is set to deliver its first and second phases in the years 2022 and 2023.