Studio’s graphic novels to be transformed by Nigerian-born filmmaker, Okupe; animated series will feature stunning African locations, brilliant themes of unity and community all through the lens of inspirational African characters.
YouNeek Studios has secured VC investment from Impact X Capital to develop an animation series based on a world of superhero and fantasy stories inspired by African history and mythology. Former senior VP of co-productions at DreamWorks, Doug Schwalbe, has joined as executive producer and will oversee distribution.
Dark Horse Comics, a leading entertainment publisher, partnered with YouNeek in January 2021 in a deal that will publish all 10 of the studio’s graphic novels. Nigerian-born award-winning filmmaker Okupe is teaming up with Impact X Capital’s creative partner, Erica Motley, to bring the series to screens worldwide. The first adaptation will be Iyanu: Child of Wonder, a classic children’s fantasy. The story features a teen aged Black female lead whose story and world are inspired by Yoruba history, culture, and folklore. Okupe tells stories through the lens of inspirational African characters. He was recently nominated for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics which honors “commitment to excellence and inclusion.”
“Impact X Capital is thrilled to partner with YouNeek Studios to bring its first animated series to life,” shared Motley. “With its stunning African locations, brilliant themes of unity and community, and rare focus on Black Girl Magic, Iyanu represents our aim to create outstanding, multicultural content by exceptional, diverse talent.”
“As soon as Erica Motley brought me Iyanu I knew it was special,” added Schwalbe. “I’m thrilled to introduce it at the Kidscreen Summit.”
YouNeek is on a mission to bring empowering African narratives and the work of Black creatives to worldwide audiences. “This is an unprecedented time for stories inspired by African history and culture,” remarked Okupe. “Our mission has always been to empower African creatives and storytelling. We've done it successfully in the comic book industry and with Impact X Capital, we're excited at the opportunity to do it in the animation space, with as many people as possible creating these stories who look like the characters in them.”
The studio has also partnered with Forefront Media Group as well as with Triggerfish Animation Studios for Iyanu. “We fell in love with Iyanu when we read Volume I, so we’re eager to bring our network of skilled creatives to make this show inventive, vibrant and an authentic representation of the fresh talent across the continent,” added Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest.
Source: YouNeek Studios