The Critics Company: Teens in Nigeria making sci-fi movies on their phones “changing the narrative”

Teenagers in northern Nigeria are aiming to “change the narrative” by making sci-fi films with their smartphones.

The Kaduna-based teens, known as The Critics Company, learned how to create science fictions special effects and film on YouTube.

The Kaduna-based film-makers made their first film, ‘Redemption’, in 2016, after saving up for a month to buy the green fabric needed to create their own greenscreens.. The group of nine use a smashed mobile phone as a camera and a broken microphone stand as their tripod while shooting their movies.

The teenagers, who have started to gain international recognition, have shot more than 20 10-minute-long short movies which are mostly about superheroes, aliens and supernatural powers. In one of the short films, two boys join forces to create an organic bio-fuel.

In 2019, the young filmmakers were contacted by American film executives including Franklin Leonard and J.J. Abrams, director of Hollywood blockbusters such as “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”, who sent The Critics Company a shipment of gear that included high-end gaming PCs, monitors, cameras and stabilisers.

The Critics Company’s aim was not just to go viral, but to also show that kids in northern Nigeria are doing something different. The award-winning team look set to influence the future of film with their approach to making movies as the pandemic continues to change how things once were.

Ridwan Abdullateef, one of the filmmakers, said: “As filmmakers, the future of film is an area that continues to excite us. Predicting correctly what the future holds will change everything especially with the new realities of the pandemic. As creators, we must find new ways to collaborate and work with others whether remotely or through some new technology. We know that in the near future, talents might not physically need to be on set – Directors can coordinate from a studio space or even through the screen. We hope to push the conversation into a new reality.”

“The end goal of the work is to produce work that’s authentic to Africa. “Growing up, we consumed a lot of western content and realised the Africa we see is not the one we live in. We see ourselves landing on the moon, exploring space travel and solving climate change – we have to shift the narrative to inspire people like us, the next generation who’ll take over after we are long gone.”

The Critics Company

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living

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