‘Balance for Better’ is the apt theme for this year’s international women day, a day earmarked to highlight the significant roles and impacts of women across the world.
The Nigerian film industry is one that has benefited enormously from contributions made by women who took their stand to confront the status quo with innovations and creativity.
In no particular order, here is a list of seven women whose inputs to the film landscape is worthy of recognition;
This filmmaker and media mogul is a voice to reckon with in the movie industry. The CEO of EbonyLife TV is reputable for directing award-winning films for both cinema and television networks. Some of her notable works include such as; ‘The Wedding Party’, ‘Fifty’, ‘The Royal Hotel Hibiscus’ and ‘Desperate Housewives Africa’. Joke Silvia.
Mo’ Abudu, as she is popularly called, has three of her films, ‘Chief Daddy’, ‘The Wedding Party’, and ‘Fifty’, acquired by Netflix, an American video streaming platform. She was recently nominated for the 2019 Médailles d’Honneur at France’s Cannes festival.
Kemi Adetiba is a Nigerian music video director and filmmaker whose works have appeared on Channel O, MTV Base, Soundcity TV, BET and Netflix. Kemi started out professionally as a radio presenter with Rhythm 93.7 FM, where she became the voice behind two nationally syndicated hit shows: Soul’d Out and Sunday at the Seaside.
Kemi Adetiba began to make a transition from being a voice on radio to being a face on television by producing and presenting several shows on Mnet, which includes Studio 53, Temptation Nigeria which she presented alongside Ikponmwosa Osakioduwa. Kemi was also a presenter on Soundcity TV and hosted Maltina Dance All for three consecutive seasons.
After years of success being in front of the camera, Adetiba enrolled into the New York Film Academy to learn the ropes about being behind the cameras and today, her bodies of work as a director are spread across the African continent and beyond its borders. Kemi Adetiba’s short film Across a Bloodied Ocean was screened at the 2009 Pan African Film Festival and National Black Arts Festival.
On 8 September 2016, Kemi Adetiba’s first feature film “The Wedding Party” (a Nigerian Rom-com film) premiered opening night, at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), as the opening film of the City-to-City Spotlight. Afterwards she followed up with her blockbusting movie King Of Boys.
Bolanle Austen-Peters is the founder of Terra Kulture Arena, the first purpose-built private theatre in Nigeria.
In 2013, she established the Bolanle Austen-Peters Productions (BAP) where she produced a Broadway-style musical production titled, ‘Wakaa The Musical’, staged at Onikan, Lagos. ‘Wakaa The Musical’ later became the first Nigerian film to play in London, at the Shaw Theatre.
Her feature film on Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, ‘93 Days’ was later premiered the Toronto International Film Festival, the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, as well as several international film festivals. For this 50-year-old film producer, promoting African arts is the goal.
The successful actress turned filmmaker can be said to be a pioneer. She made her debut into movie directing with the film, ‘LionHeart’
Despite initial industry controversies that halted the screening of the film in Nigerian cinemas, Genevieve was not one to stop midway. ‘LionHeart’ made history as Netflix’s first original Nigerian movie.
Known as one of Nigerian’s most versatile film director, Tope Oshin’s first documentary, ‘Amaka’s Kin’, celebrated the life of the legendary, Amaka Igwe, and highlighted the voices of working female directors.
She also has a history in acting, scriptwriting and movie production. Tope Oshin has worked on projects like, ‘Up North’, ‘Tinsel’, ‘Hotel Majestic’, ‘Shuga’, ‘Hush’ and the award-winning adult-film, ‘We Don’t Live Here any More’.
In 2009, Omoni Oboli took her grand re-entry into the movie scene with her role, Mona in Kunle Afolayan’s ‘The Figurine’. She would later enrol at the New York Film Academy to acquire skills in movie directing.
Omoni made her debut into movie directing with, ‘Being Mrs Elliot in 2014, which topped the charts as one of Nigerians highest grossing movies for long. Her preceding films, ‘The First Lady’ and ‘Wives on Stike’ would later follow the same pattern.
Although she started her career as an actress in the movie scene, Stephanie took a step further to study directing at the New York Film Academy.
In 2009, a time when movies at the cinema were not a popular choice, Stephanie took a plunge with her movie, Through the Glass, grossing in over N10million within its first week.
Stephanie Linus also has a strong voice on social campaigns both locally and internationally. Her award-winning film, ‘Dry’, which focused on Vesicovaginal fistula condition and under-aged marriage among young women earned her a special recognition at the first ‘Blacks in Cinema’ presentation in Los Angeles.
The film released in 2015, was later screened a second time at the Pan African Film and Arts Festival (PAFF), in February 2019.