Nigerian filmmaker uses animated monster to teach kids about coronavirus

Nollywood director Niyi Akinmolayan lends his filmmaking talent to animated PSA

A Nollywood filmmaker came up with a creative idea to explain the coronavirus to children in his native Nigeria.

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CNN reports that director Niyi Akinmolayan wanted to find a way to engage children while making sure they took the coronavirus seriously. That turned into creating a 30-second animated video complete with siblings Habeeb and Funke who were on opposite ends of coronavirus safety. Akinmolayan added an animated version of the virus to drive home the fact that it needs to be taken seriously.

“You want to tell your child not to go outside, but you need to explain why he needs to stay inside. Beyond that, you need to explain why he constantly has to wash his hands with soap and water. … It was really hard until I came up with the idea of the coronavirus monster,” he told CNN.


Akinmolayan helmed popular Nollywood features Chief Daddy, The Set Up and The Wedding Party 2 made the animated short completely online with the help of his Anthill Productions staff who worked remotely.



“I figured out that one of the best ways to explain it (coronavirus) was with graphics and animations so that we wouldn’t have real people gather in one place to film,” he said.

Nigeria, a country of 200 million, has had some of its more populous states, including Lagos, where Anthill is based, shut down to stop the spread of the virus. 1700 people in Nigeria have tested positive for the virus with 51 deaths so far, says CNN.

Akinmolayan created the film, then provided it for free via Google Drive download so that other countries could use it to educate their own children. (We’re not sure if jollof rice translates but maybe other countries just added their own favorite food.)

The 90-second video was made in English and three Nigerian languages – Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa, have been translated into French, Portuguese, and broadcast in Turkey and China.

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The Nigerian film industry is a $600M plus industry but there have not been a lot of animated films out of the market.

“What we need to be thinking about is the power of children and producing family content,” Akinmolyan said. “We need to pass a lot of messages that hit at the level of kids.”

You can download the video assets via Google Drive HERE.

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(Photo: Video screenshot)