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Benny Dee, JustArt and the Beautiful World of Animation

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Benjamin Sokomba Dazhi aka Benny Dee is a renowned Nigerian animator, film producer and director. He hails from the north-central Nigeria, Niger state.

Benjamin started his artistic craft as a rapper back then in the Federal University of Technology, Minna. He was in a hip-hop duo called “Hot Mics”. The rap duo gained some major grounds in the school, rocked different stages and highly respected among their music peers.

Following his love for video production, Benjamin gradually ventured into the production of music videos for artists within and outside Minna, Niger state. His style and professionalism carved a niche to become a top video director in the North.

In 2014 during a year long academic staff strike, Benjamin decided to improve his skills in 3D animation. After many trials and minor setbacks, he found his breakthrough in animation by establishing his own Nigerian animation company, then it was called Night Light 3D Works and now, officially referred to as JustArt Animation Studios. The renowned animator has since been involved in the production of animation series for both local and international production companies, helping to boost the animation industry in Nigeria.

Early this year, Akin Alabi a famous Nigerian filmmaker announced Benjamin as the Head Animator of his first animation movie, “Oronpoto”, an animated movie about the legend of the famous first female Alaafin of Oyo, Ibadan, Nigeria.

Benjamin has a famous animated web series titled “Warlord” a series about a notorious African rebel, although loved by fans of the animation series. The web animation series is well crafted with focus on details, so much that fans and Nigerian animation enthusiasts cannot help but love the “bad guy” Warlord.

Benjamin was recently announced as the African Head Animator of a Cartoon Network dance instructional series, “Dance Challenge”. This deal according to Cartoon Network is to reiterate Cartoon Network’s commitment to creating contents that will make its African audience feel at home. Well, trust Benjamin to use his cutting-edge innovative motion capture techniques to bring the animated characters to life.

In compilation, the following are some major companies Benjamin has worked with over the years. They are; Reallusion; Cartoon Network; Panjandrum.ai.INC; Big A Entertainment; BWE studios; FRSC; and Akin Alabi Films among other.

Today in Nigeria, there are very few animation studios, but the Nigerian animation industry is beginning to grow gradually, with a subtle increase in the number of Nigerian animators and animated films. Benjamin is one of the pioneer animators setting the pace for a greater animation industry in Nigeria.

With the unfortunate advent of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the demand for animation has increased, as live productions were/are shut down or limited to socially distanced teams.

With advertisers and other video producers unable to film in the field, those who can afford it, are turning to animation to fill the gap and Benjamin has stated that the animation industry is gradually booming in Africa.

Benjamin has always mentioned that he wants many Nigerian creatives to invest more in the Nigerian animation industry. As the years go by, he looks forward to having an all-star animation team in Nigeria that will produce a major animated movie.

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