In a move set to further energize Nigeria’s thriving film industry, Capital Film Productions, a film financing firm founded by former Google employee Adim Isiakpona and Shell business opportunity manager Hamza Kassim, has announced the launch of Act 3, a ₦500 million fund dedicated to investing in a diverse range of Nollywood movies.
Capital Films’ co-founders, both of whom have an impressive track record as executive producers in the Nollywood industry, played pivotal roles in the success of hit films like “Gangs of Lagos” and “Brotherhood.” Adim Isiakpona, the CEO of Capital Films, also held the role of associate producer for the popular “Sugar Rush.”
Over the past three years, Capital Films has successfully raised $800,000 across two funds, facilitating the production of seven films and achieving a remarkable 37% cumulative return on both funds. The company’s financing model involves pooling funds from retail investors, with the previous two funds boasting 37 investors. The minimum investment required to join this venture is ₦10 million, and Capital Films typically invests between ₦50 million and ₦100 million in each film.
When selecting films to invest in, Isiakpona explains that they meticulously review the filmmaker’s history and business model. The budget for each movie varies depending on the story and its requirements, while the average return cycle for investment stands at 24 months.
The Nigerian film industry, known as Nollywood, is currently experiencing a globalization trend. International streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime are backing and licensing new Nollywood films. Notably, “Gangs of Lagos” has secured a spot in the top 10 non-English movies on Amazon Prime, and “The Black Book” garnered over 70 million views on Netflix in less than three weeks.
In addition to providing financing, Capital Film offers advisory services to filmmakers, assisting with scripting and casting to enhance a film’s marketability and ensure a viable return on investment.
Isiakpona emphasizes their commitment to prudent investment, saying, “We always try to ensure that we keep our investment to 50% of the project’s cost, but it can vary from 25% to even less than 25%. We don’t go beyond 50% to ensure that we are not overextending ourselves in one film project.”
This venture by Capital Films arrives at a time when tech-focused professionals are increasingly investing in Nollywood, drawn by the shorter return cycle on investment compared to tech startups. Adim Isiakpona expressed his optimism, stating, “Nollywood is on the precipice of growth, and we see ourselves contributing to this growth by providing structure and increasing capacity, either through funding it or through the process of producing the films.”
For filmmakers, this influx of outside investment offers a fresh perspective and the potential for positive change in an industry that is just beginning to establish itself in the global economy.
Tolu Awobiyi, a filmmaker with a decade of experience and the producer of “Bling Lagosians,” acknowledged the value of VCs’ involvement, stating, “I have learned more about navigating the pitfalls of our business from my interactions with my VCs. You find that the VCs who traditionally are interested in film investments are usually very hands-on because they usually have a creative leaning; that is why they are attracted to film investments in the first place, and their experience investing in other industries gives them critical knowledge relevant to managing the risks of a high return environment such as ours.”
As Capital Films launches Act 3, they are also closing their third fund, which is set to finance six movies in 2024. Isiakpona is optimistic about the future, envisioning the fund growing to $50 million, stating, “In a way, CFP is a dream come true for us. It all started off as a scrappy idea with ‘Our First Act,’ raising funds from our personal finances to support film projects, to a ‘Second Act’ that saw us managing Liquidity Provider’s funds. From these experiences, we’ve seen firsthand how access to adequate funding and support can uplift the entire production of a film and potentially the industry.”
With Capital Films’ ambitious fund and their dedication to nurturing Nollywood’s growth, the Nigerian film industry is poised for even greater success on the global stage.