Lion Forge works with Black Women Animate to recruit talent for ‘Iyanu’


By, Cole Watson, June 28, 2023 2:00pm (Kidscreen)

EXCLUSIVE: BWA will hire and train BIPOC creators in pre-production roles for Lion Forge’s Nigerian-inspired fantasy series.

Lion Forge Entertainment is teaming up with New York’s Black Women Animate (BWA) Studios to recruit more diverse pre-production talent for its upcoming Max and Cartoon Network fantasy series Iyanu.

Studio founder and CEO David Steward II is spearheading the initiative, with a goal to build Lion Forge’s presence in Atlanta, and discover and create opportunities for BIPOC animators. The partners will work together on building a talent pipeline, and BWA is charged with hiring and training new recruits in pre-production roles for Iyanu.

This 2D-animated series is based on a graphic novel series called Iyanu: Child of Wonder by Nigerian author/illustrator duo Roye Okupe and Godwin Akpa (published by Dark Horse Comics and YouNeek Studios). It’s set in the magical kingdom of Yorubaland, where a teenage orphan studies Yoruba history and ancient arts. After unwittingly activating her latent superpowers, Iyanu joins forces with two other teens to battle against the evil lurking in her homeland.

Lion Forge is producing and financing the series under the supervision of production head Saxton Moore. Leading the writers room is Brandon Easton (Transformers: War for Cybertron and Marvel’s Agent Carter), and Okupe will serve as executive producer, writer and director on multiple episodes. Cartoon Network and HBO Max greenlit Iyanu last year.