“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Growing up, film and TV was like food and drink. My mum used media to feed us lessons about world cultures and life’s complexities. She showed me The Gods Must Be Crazy – a film about a Kalahari bushman whose life turns upside down when he first encounters a glass Coca-Cola bottle. Believing it’s an evil sent from the gods, he sets out to get rid of it.

This film hurt me anew because it played out a stereotype I had seen many times in popular media by age ten. As the narrative goes, Africans primarily live subsistent lives and remain unexposed to advanced culture, technology and education. It was a heart-rending distortion of my daily life in Nigeria. Because watching film was exactly how I learned about other cultures, I knew there were non-Africans somewhere taking this depiction of African life as the whole truth. I felt powerless to prevent the stereotype from being reaffirmed and desperately wished that I could bring the world to Nigeria to show it how I lived.

I will bring African stories and storytellers to global audiences. I will feed these audiences diverse film and television stories about the multifaceted lives Africans actually live.

— Ron Babalakin