Disney+ teams up with Herts Graduate to create original African sci-fi show

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

By Chloe Olivia Sladden

Entertainment company Kugali, founded by Hertfordshire 3D Animation and Visual Effects graduate Hamid Ibrahim (Class of 2017) has joined forces with Walt Disney Animation Studios, entitled ‘Iwájú’.

The collaboration is the first of its kind for the streaming platform, as it plans to delve into the themes of class and innocence and changing the status quo in society.

Chief Creative Director at Walt Disney Animations, Jennifer Lee: “Developing Iwájú with Tolu, Ziki and Hamid is not only a first-of-its-kind collaboration for Walt Disney Animation Studios, but a personal pleasure for all of us who have the opportunity to work with them. The story Kugali is telling is powerful and dynamic, and we can’t wait to help realize their series through the talents of our Disney Animation artists.”

It will be set in Lagos, Nigeria and introduce the world to the African stories created by Ibrahim and fellow Kugali founders; Ziki Nelson and Tolu Olowofoyeku. The Herts graduate helped to co found Kugali in 2017 before pursing it full time in 2018. Ibrahim previously worked at the studio Moving Picture Compny where he worked on the live action 2019 Lion King.

Kugali Co-Founder and Head of Creative Operations, Harim Ibrahim, said: “I still remember watching the Lion King (1994) as a kid when I was growing up. Hearing them speaking Swahili, a language that I speak myself, in a big picture animation like that was inspiring. From that moment on I knew what I wanted to do; it was my dream to share the stories of my people with the world.”

Dean of the School of Creative Arts at Herts, Phil Healey commented how it is always nice to see Herts graduate succeed after their studies. He offered his “congratulations to Hamid and the team at Kugali. Sharing African stories with a wider audience in collaboration with Disney Animation is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to enjoying the new series. Hamid’s achievements are already impressive, and we wish him every success in bringing his vision and this important contribution to global culture to the screen.”

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