SEATTLE, Washington — Ikorodu, a suburb of Lagos, Nigeria, is home to the Ikorodu Bois, a group of aspiring young filmmakers. The group members—the Sanni brothers, Muiz, Maleek, Babatunde and their cousin Fawas Aina—are receiving global attention for their short films. The Ikorodu Bois use popular Hollywood films and music videos as inspiration for their work. Most recently, their ingenuity and talent have captured the attention of the world’s leading media-streaming service, Netflix. In August 2020, the streaming and production company gifted the filmmakers professional filming equipment, including and not limited to an iMac, a camera monitor and a filming stabilizer.
The Filmmakers’ Work
From reinventing the “Jumanji” trailer to lip-syncing Michael Jackson hits, the Ikorodu Bois create short films in a variety of genres. The group also incorporates issues of social justice and reform in their work, along with wit and humor.
Filming in the suburbs of Nigeria, the young boys do not have the resources of high-budget films. The filmmakers creatively use common household items as substitutes for expensive props, costumes and accessories. Using wheelbarrows for car racing and plastic pools instead of large bodies of water, the group’s creativity shines through. Their most recent video, a remake of the “Extraction” trailer, earned 162,000 retweets and more than 11 million views on Twitter.
The Ikorodu Bois have amassed 36,000 subscribers on YouTube, 180,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 1 million followers on Instagram. Their popularity and growing recognition are reflections of their potential to make a mark on the filming industry.
After the group uploaded their remake of the “Extraction” trailer on Twitter, Netflix retweeted the video and sent the boys professional filming equipment. On Twitter, one of the boys responded, “Netflix, thank you so much. This is a dream come true!” The gift serves as an affirmation of the group’s natural talent and skill for filmmaking, and demonstrated Netflix’s conviction when they referred to the young filmmakers as “the future of Hollywood”.
Celebrities such as Lebron James, Dwayne Johnson and Will Smith have reached out to the boys in praise of their films. Their work also captured Chris Hemsworth’s attention, who commented, “I think your version might be better than the original!” The recognition from Hollywood goes further, as the video has also been acclaimed by movie producers Anthony and Joseph Russo. The American production duo went as far as inviting the young filmmakers to the premiere of “Extraction 2,” presenting an opportunity for the Ikorodu Bois to travel across the world to Hollywood.
For the Ikorodu Bois and their filmmaking ventures, the future looks bright. The recognition from Netflix and Hollywood figures has given the group motivation to continue in their creative endeavors. Although these artists come from impoverished communities, their work shows that art can flourish anywhere in the world.
– Karli Stone