Storyland Studios-designed Nollywood film city moves forward

Studio complex gets an iconic name, completes BlueSky phase of master plan, enters agreement with Lagos government.

Lagos, Nigeria – International experience design firm Storyland Studios’ partner, Del-York International Group, has signed an agreement with the Lagos, Nigeria state government formalising a studio city set to revolutionise the Nigerian film industry.

With Storyland’s BlueSky now complete, the studio city’s name was also unveiled: Kebulania, inspired by Alkebulan, the ancient indigenous name for the African continent. Alkebulan is translated to mean “mother of mankind” or “garden of Eden.”

“Kebulania’s name, in effect, is rooted in the soil where it will be planted,” said Ben Thompson, Chief Strategy Officer at Storyland Studios. “It’s a symbol that this will be a creative epicenter for the continent.”


Linus Idahosa, President and CEO of Del-York International, and Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) at Lagos’ annual investor summit, Ehingbeti, on Oct. 11, 2022. The partnership aims to create a true film studio there that will become a premier destination for filmmaking and creativity throughout all of Africa.

“The signing is an exciting step toward Kebulania’s implementation,” said Idahosa. “It is a significant milestone on the journey to construction.”

Construction on Kebulania is set to begin during the first quarter of 2023 and extend over a two-year period. Its overarching setting, according to Mel McGowan, Chief Creative Officer at Storyland Studios, is “ultra-modern African meets state-of-the-art studio,” combining the latest innovations to support Lagos’ film industry.

“Kebulania is perfectly positioned to embody the heart of African storytelling,” said McGowan. “Our goal is to help global citizens feel inspired and fulfilled as they experience the heart of story in Lagos’ creative ecosystem.”


Nollywood: Nigeria’s Booming Film Industry

Nigeria’s film industry, widely known as “Nollywood,” is the second largest movie industry in the world next to India’s Bollywood.

“Nigeria is one of the fastest growing moviemaking regions in the world,” said Matt Ferguson, Chief Innovation Officer at Storyland Studios. “They’ve built an organic film industry fueled by really resourceful, creative, entrepreneurial people. They’re making films happen with whatever equipment, actors, and training they can find.

“Kebulania will open up countless opportunities to train creatives on how to truly make a living in the movie business, and to help create a more formalised industry in Nigeria.”


Nollywood has an annual gross revenue of over $1 billion and an output of roughly 2,500 films per year. Once completed, Kebulania is estimated to attract both Western clients and 5,000 to 10,000 daily visitors. The studio city will be positioned to generate significant revenue and economic activity for Lagos, both in terms of tourism and the local economy.

“We hope to improve the local film industry and exponentially increase Nollywood’s output and value in years to come,” said Idahosa.


Kebulania: A Look Inside

Designed and master planned by Storyland Studios, the 224-acre Kebulania is a first-of-its-kind studio city on the African continent. The plan envisions Kebulania as a fully-resourced entertainment industry campus and film lot in the vein of Universal Studios Hollywood™. Filmmakers, actors, writers, musicians, marketing professionals, and other industry personnel can live and work on the lot, bringing their creative ideas to life in the process.

Kebulania will also house fully equipped, modern sound stages, workshops, a film and creative arts academy, a museum commemorating the history of Nollywood, residential housing, retail, dining, entertainment, a hotel, commercial real estate, and a backlot theme park. The backlot concept presents a range of African aesthetics from the historical to the present day, including Colonial Africa, Old Africa, Modern Africa, and a Cyber City motif.

The Lost Africa district will feature an adventure park and thrill rides, along with the fun and interactive Kids’ Studio, will keep visitors entertained during their stay.


A Place to Live, Work, Play, Create, and Discover

Kebulania’s residential complex will house a live-work-play community where everyone from film crew members to studio executives can live. Its innovative, radial design features a living roof and a central courtyard where residents can meet and gather. At the center of the complex, Storyland has envisioned a sculptural tower lovingly dubbed the “Tree of Life” to commemorate the life-giving nature of the original tree.

Within the residential complex, there are varying levels of dwellings, including condos and apartments, as well as outlying buildings situated in a walkable community. Residents will have access to easy transportation, retail, and dining, so they can meet all of their major needs. Adjacent to the community, there will be a complex that houses studio offices and sound stages for filming.

The combination of real backlots, accessible by tram, and amusement park-style rides will give everyday visitors an opportunity to see real movie-making locations that are regularly in use.

In addition to the residential areas, there will be a central resort hotel, accompanied by a retail, dining, and entertainment sector. This district will sit on a lagoon that opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Along the beautiful waterfront setting, there will be places for boats and yachts to dock. The scene will be topped off by a waterfall archway that will transform into the centerpiece of a nighttime spectacular at the end of the day.

“We predict Kebulania is going to become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa,” Ferguson said. “We’re looking forward to embarking on the next phase of the process.”


About Storyland Studios
Storyland Studios imagines, designs and creates immersive experiences and environments that lift the spirit. The firm was recently slated to design the first-ever Ubisoft Entertainment Center at France’s Studios Occitanie, the first in its ongoing partnership with Ubisoft. Storyland are heading up master planning for the first-ever Sports Illustrated resorts, design for Storyville Gardens, an interactive, story-driven theme park based in Middle Tennessee, and much more. For more information, visit www.storylandstudios.com.

In addition to the firm’s exciting recent projects, Storyland has worked alongside some of the world’s most well-known IPs over its twenty-year history. Some of their most notable work includes concepts, designs, scenic fabrication, and themed environments for Marvel, Star Wars, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, The Walt Disney Company, LEGO®, and Trillith Studios. For more information, visit www.storylandstudios.com.


Ben Thompson, Storyland Studios International
Email: ben@storylandstudios.com
International Phone: 0044 1494 732414

Mel McGowan, Storyland Studios West Coast
Email: mel@storylandstudios.com
U.S. Phone: +1 800-218-1932

Matt Ferguson, Storyland Studios East Coast
Email: mattf@storylandstudios.com
U.S. Phone: +1 800-218-1932