Sunday, July 5, 2009


Hi! Hope your weekend has been good? "If so, doxology" (heheheh, an over-used phrase one of my English teachers yabbed us for using whenever we were told to write letters during examinations).

Ok, so in case you haven't heard, there's a new 3-D animation coming soon, straight from Naija! It's called Lifespan, and I'll leave Emmanuel Anyifite to tell you all about it:

It’s hardly news to say that Nigeria has not caught up with the worldwide advances in feature length animated films. South Africa beat us to it, and produced the first African 3D animated movie. But now, Mighty Jot Animation Studios are out to change the state of affairs, and have come up with a movie which when it premieres in December, will become Nigeria’s first animated movie.

Written and directed by Stanlee Ohikhuare, the film is titled ‘Lifespan’, and will be released in cinemas locally but will stand up to the best that is out there internationally.
A pioneer in 3D technology in Nigeria, Ohikhuare is well known for his television commercials for various companies and brand names, including Zain, Coca Cola and Chicken Republic. He had to stop two other films in other to concentrate on ‘Lifespan’, a self-funded project which has taken three years to make.

Lifespan is a compelling movie whose central theme is the scourge of malaria. In an imaginative leap, the film is set in the past, about 4,000 years ago in the ancient Benin Kingdom.
A colony of mosquitoes are split, with one group wanting to remain the bloodsucking predators that nature has made; while the other group prefers to tow the line of prudence to ensure their survival by other means and be less menacing to humans. They attempt to get a magical potion for malaria, and so embark on a quest to a cave inhabited by men.

The aim is to get a dose of human blood to perform a purification ritual that will end the spread of malaria forever and lead to a peaceful co-existence with mankind. But all is not what it seems, and there are hidden agendas and selfish interests at play.

In a trailer preview, we glimpse a movie which when released would be comparable to the best that Hollywood has to offer, including blockbusters like ‘Antz’, ‘Happy Feet’, ‘A Shark’s Tale’ and ‘Madagascar’ – all standout works in new technology driven movie making. Ohikhuare hopes giants like Walt Disney will help with the international distribution and marketing of ‘Lifespan’.
South Africa’s first 3D movie, titled ‘Wild Safari’ was released in 2005. It combined real images with animation and special effects, enhancing the stunning visuals in three dimensions. ‘Wild Safari’ was based on an inspirational contemporary tale targeting international viewers of all ages. Many noted its debt to classic American animation like ‘The Little Prince’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ – with the added elements of fantasy, high emotion and entertainment.
Similarly, Lifespan would attempt to capture audiences with its storyline. Its makers say the film will show the scourge of malaria in a captivating style that only 3D movies can. It also promises a wholly Nigerian outlook: characters have Nigerian names; local music is played; and some of the country’s most popular actors are featured.

Characters in Lifespan will be voiced by popular actors and actresses, including: Joke Silva as Queen Shebaz; Kate Henshaw as Queen Shekil; Bola Edwards - Akpor; Ashionye as Ivie, and Femi Sowoolu as Opiah. Others are Idia Imahe as Omon; Ighodaro Umaigba as Waspie; Patrick Edwards as the Ant and ace comedian, Basketmouth as Scout.
3D animation in Nigeria is largely limited to television commercials at present. It is expected that the genre will witness a major turning point with the release of Lifespan.
The estimated cost of the film is N300 million, still a pittance in comparison to the whopping $300 million used by director James Cameron for his own animated movie, slated for release soon.

“Lifespan is not an attempt to become a local champion, neither is it a project for local consumption alone,” says Ohikhure. He insists that the film “will put us in the spotlight for global scrutiny and criticism, to enable us get better and eventually bridge the gap between us and big time production firms like Pixar and Dreamworks.”
-Lifespan and the 3D revolution by Emmanuel Anyifite

To watch the Lifespan trailer, the youtube link is: