Idris Elba and Mo Abudu Partner to Help Develop African Film, TV Industry

The project aims to mentor creatives and bring African stories to the world stage

Idris Elba and Mo Abudu
Amy Sussman/Andrew Chin/Getty Images

Idris Elba and media mogul Mo Abudu on Thursday announced a partnership aimed at working to develop the television and movie industries across Africa and to bring “stories from Africa and the African diaspora to the world stage.”

The “Luther” actor and “Queen Nzinga” executive producer said the effort would be made through their respective production companies, Green Door Pictures and EbonyLife Media to build capacity and foster authentic representation in global film and TV projects set for production.

The two described a two-fold approached that would bring education and mentoring initiatives to help both young people and older creative professionals the opportunity to showcase their skills and tell their stories, and assist in large-scale productions.

Abudu, who has Nigerian roots, has deep ties to “Nollywood,” as the Nigerian film industry is known, producing multiple films in that space, including 2016’s “The Wedding Party,” which stood at the time as the nation’s highest grossing film. She’s also involved with Nigerian television, including “Desperate Housewives Africa” in partnership with Disney.

“We believe that Africa has the talent and the stories to captivate the world. It’s our mission to offer the best in industry education, mentorship, and production opportunities, so that our graduates can become valuable contributors to the global media landscape,” Abudu said in a statement. “We plan to hit the ground running and explore the very best that African and Black stories have to offer global audiences.”

Elba, who founded Green Door Productions in 2013 to work with emerging talent and produce thought-provoking content, lists “Luther: The Fallen Sun,” Netflix’s “Concrete Cowboy” and the forthcoming Apple+ series “Hijack” among its credits. He also has a record label, 7Wallace Music.

“I have always been passionate about using my platform to make a positive impact,” Elba said. “By partnering with Mo, we aim to offer free, world-class industry education to the next generation of storytellers and bring their authentic voices to the forefront. This partnership is a step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse media landscape, one that represents the voices and experiences of Africa and its diaspora around the world.”

The pair are also hoping that global industry leaders and others, from governments to multilateral agencies, will join in their effort to grow talent and build capacity around the African continent.

The partnership will include education and support through EbonyLife’s Creative Academy in Lagos, Nigeria. The model used to establish this facility will be replicated across the continent, and will also support graduates, the announcement said.

They will also create a new development slate of stories originating out of Africa or set in the diaspora as feature films and TV series for the global market.

“The development slate will focus on bringing authentic, Afro-centric stories that resonate with audiences around the world,” the announcement said. “These co-productions between Green Door Pictures and EbonyLife Media will provide a range of content for broadcasters and streamers as well as for theatrical distribution globally.”