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"The Black Book": Nigeria's tech elite fund Nollywood's first Netflix chart topper


Fintech elite fuel Nollywood's rise with "The Black Book". [Graphics: Hope Mukami]

The combination of hard-earned Nollywood craft and Nigeria's fast-paced, well-organised and well-funded fintech ecosystem could prove to be a match made in heaven.


Seth Onyango, bird story agency


A bet by members of Nigeria's fintech elite on a feature film, "The Black Book" is paying blockbuster dividends, as the film strikes a chord with viewers around the world. The film has trended at number one on Netflix in countries as diverse as Greece, Israel, Jamaica, Kenya, Luxembourg, South Korea, Sweden and Nigeria, since its debut on September 26.


This is the first time that leaders in the country's meteoric fintech startup space have "crowded in" to fund a film in Nollywood, Nigeria's famous film sector. The move would appear to be a blowout success.


"It’s Nigeria day across the world and I want to introduce my non-Nigerian followers to the Black Book on Netflix. The Black Book or “The Revenge List” in some non-English titles has been Top 10 in 88 countries since release day; September 22nd, 2023," creative entrepreneur Editi Effiòng posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.


"It has been No. 1 in 20 countries so far, including Nigeria and South Korea. No African movie has done this well on Netflix. Nollywood, our time has come."


Film producer and Hot Ticket Productions chief executive Blessing Amidu told bird story agency that the fintech investors' foray into Nollywood marked a watershed moment for the industry.


"It is always a welcome development," said Amidu, whose production house midwifed Nigeria's first feature-length anime, 'Lady Buckit and the Motley Mopsters'.


Directed by Editi Effiong, the Black Book sheds light on a poignant narrative in which a grief-stricken church deacon, Paul Erima (portrayed by the seasoned Richard Mofe-Damijo) grapples with the complexities of justice, his faith and the desire for revenge.


As he takes matters into his own hands to honour his son's name, he is plunged into a confrontation with a rogue police faction.


Spotting the bullish surge of the African entertainment scene, fintech leaders leapt in, injecting hefty funding and propelling the Nollywood film to global acclaim.


The film boasts high production value and quality, evident in the cinematography, sound design, and editing.


It was co-written by Bukunmi Ajakiye and produced by Lala Akindoju and features a stellar cast of Nollywood talent, such as Ego Boyo, Joke Silva, and Segun Arinze.


Since its debut, the film has received rave reviews from critics and audiences alike, who praised its gripping plot, strong performances and social commentary.


It has also sparked discussions on the issues of corruption, justice and redemption in Nigeria.


The fintech leaders who backed the film are some of the most influential and successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria’s booming fintech sector, which has attracted millions of dollars in investment and innovation.


They include Gbenga Agboola, founder and CEO of Flutterwave; Kola Aina, founding partner at Ventures Partner; Olumide Soyombo, co-founder of Blue Chip Technologies; Nadayar Enegesi, co-founder of Eden Life; and Prosper Otemuyiwa, co-founder and CTO of Eden Life.


Others are Adesunbomi Plumptre, co-founder of Volition Capital; Ezra Olubi, co-founder of Paystack; Odunayo Oweniyi, co-founder and COO of Piggyvest; Somto Ifezue, co-founder of Piggyvest; Joshua Chibueze, co-founder and CEO of Piggyvest.


The fintech leaders have decided to venture into film as a way of supporting the creative industry and showcasing the rich and diverse stories of Africa to the world. They have also expressed their satisfaction and excitement with the film’s success and impact.


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