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Netflix, Boyega to develop African stories

Star Wars’ John Boyega formed prodco UpperRoom

Star Wars actor John Boyega’s production outfit UpperRoom has teamed up with Netflix to develop non-English-language films drawn from Africa.

UpperRoom will develop film projects based on stories, cast, characters, crew, literary properties, mythology, screenplays and/or other elements from African countries, with a focus on West and East Africa.

“Africa has a rich history in storytelling and for Netflix, this partnership with John and UpperRoom presents an opportunity to further our investment in the continent while bringing unique African stories to our members both in Africa and around the world,” said David Kosse, VP of international film at Netflix.

UpperRoom, the independent TV and film production company founded by the British-Nigerian actor in 2016, was set up to facilitate his debut as a producer on hit film Pacific Rim: Uprising, which he coproduced with Legendary Entertainment and was distributed via Universal.

Since then, UpperRoom has been developing a slate of projects including some unscripted content, with its day-to-day operations overseen by Yara Shaikh, VP of productions.

Netflix recently signalled its intention to increase its investment in Africa with the production of its first original scripted series from Nigeria, the yet-to-be-titled Akin Omotoso Project, as well as other African originals Blood & Water and Mama K’s Team 4, which will premiere later this year. Netflix’s first Africa Original, Queen Sono, debuted on February 28.

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