A new Netflix partnership will open an untapped and fertile place for new story telling. Africa. A partnership with UpperRoom Productions will allow development of new content based on stories based on the worlds largest land mass. Further investment in Africa could stand to be the one of the biggest treasure troves of content Netflix has ever worked with. The company has already debuted its first African original Queen Sono and will be working on Netflix recently the production of its first original scripted series from Nigeria, an untitled Akin Omotoso Project. Netflix viewers can also look forward to African Originals — Blood & Water and Mama K’s Team 4 — that will premiere later this year. These are important developments as far as increasing diversity in storytelling for mainstream audiences as most content found in mainstream services is based very much in Western traditions, whether it be fairy tales, myths, political thrillers etc. UpperRoom Productions was founded by actor John Boyega.
“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, Vice President of International Film at Netflix.
The content from UpperRoom will feature offerings in languages other than English, which will likely help expand Netflix’s appeal outside the US, which is key to the companies growth. The African market and Chinese market are two places where the company has plenty of room to expand its reach. There is no telling exactly what to expect from the partnership. This is because to say Content from “Africa” is hardly the same thing as saying China or even Europe. The continent is home to so many languages, nationalities, ethnic groups and traditions that one can hardly pin down an authentic “African” style. I am reminded of a radio commentator who bristled at the idea of people saying they wanted to take a trip to Africa, continent of 54 countries. The commentator asked, where will you fly into when you land in Africa? Africa City?
A story from The Hollywood Reporter stated the deal includes two films from Nigeria and one from Egypt.