The character, a young Black astronaut named Aku, was created by artist and former Major League Baseball Player Micah Johnson. After initially appearing in Johnson’s paintings, Aku became the central character in a 10-part story told in chapters released as NFTs.
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Zack Hayden of Anonymous Content will produce the project, alongside executive producers Andrew Gertler and pop star Shawn Mendes via their Permanent Content joint venture. The company was founded last year to develop film and TV titles with youth appeal. Gertler is Mendes’ longtime manager. Permanent Content, which also reps NFTs, brought Aku to Anonymous.
Last February, the first chapter attracted upward of $2 million in investment during its 24-hour window of availability. NFTs have burst onto the wider cultural scene, disrupting markets in the art world and sports memorabilia and Hollywood has started to take notice. An artist using the pseudonym Beeple sold an NFT in March for $69 million.
“This deal is such an empowering moment for creators everywhere,” Johnson said in a press release. “A small Black crypto community mobilized behind Aku at launch and told the world, ‘This is a character we want in the world.’ And for Anonymous Content to recognize the magnitude of this movement and want to take the Aku story further makes me incredibly excited for our future together.”
Recent Anonymous projects include The Revenant and Schitt’s Creek. CEO Dawn Olmstead said the rise of NFTs as a source of film and TV content is a phenomenon that the company wanted to be early to embrace. She described it as “a content renaissance fueled by the convergence of art with tech and an inspired generation of creators using the two to tell stories.”
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