Behold Nollywood’s Game Changing Producers
By Rita Okoye
Within the past few years, the industry has witnessed invaluable contributions of female filmmakers who have churned out top-notch movies as producers or directors.
Today, female filmmakers in Nollywood rule the space and continue to inspire their generation. Vanguard Allure shines the spotlight on the young female filmmakers calling the shots, and changing the narrative in the Nigerian movie industry.
Judith Audu is a multiple award-winning filmmaker and actress. She holds a certificate in directing from the London Film Academy, a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from University of Lagos and a B.A. in French also from the University of Lagos. In 2019, she won the Best Nollywood Female Filmmaker and Best Director from Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival.
In 2021, she also received a recognition award for her production from Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
“My career in producing movies began in 2014 after I created my production company, Judith Audu Productions. We kicked off by partnering our friends to create a short film on domestic violence titled, ‘Not Right’, that went on to get screened in several film festivals, and, also, got several nominations and was used as an advocacy video in several NGOs against domestic violence,” she had said in an interview with Vanguard.
The CEO of Judith Audu Productions who had her directorial debut on a short film titled ‘Mirabel,’ has continued to soar in the industry, leaving no stone unturned in changing the narrative for female filmmakers in a male dominated industry.
She has to her credits, The Kings Horseman (Elesin Oba), Hook Up, Special Friends and lots more.
In March 2022, Chinonso Arubayi premiered her debut production, ‘I Am Nazzy’, a film about life, dreams, and hope and self-discovery.
“It was really difficult. Filmmaking requires sacrifices, dedication, and discipline. The hardest part was learning to be present, and stay in character as an actor, while experiencing some production challenges. I pulled through acting and producing in same movie with the help of an experienced, patient, and understanding director, Mr. Kayode Peters. The crew members were passionate, the actors also gave their best, in characterization and also delivery,” she had shared her experience as a first time producer with Vanguard Allure.
Arubayi also noted that After I Am Nazzy, she definitely has a lot more to come.
“Imagine what we were able to achieve despite all the limitations we experienced. I’m looking forward to great partnerships to do more”, she said.
Definitely, Chinonso Arubayi’s next production would surpass the achievements of her debut.
In 2021 Adunni Ade ventured into Film production with her Film production company Lou-Ellen Clara Company Limited. She debuted her first film, SOÓLÈ as an executive producer, featuring top actors such as, Sola Sobowale, Femi Jacobs, Meg Otanwa, Shawn Faqua and Lateef Dimeji.
The blockbuster movie tells the story of a group of travellers on a bus journey home for Christmas but find themselves entangled in a cat-and-mouse game with dangerous criminals.
Suffice to say that the Nigerian movie industry is gaining global momentum especially through movies creatively done by female filmmakers.
Since Adunni Ade’s transition from acting to production, she is not resting her laurels, and she continues to make an impact with her talent.
Kemi Lala Akindoju
Kemi wears many hats. She is an actor, drama instructor, casting director and producer. She has featured in over 70 theatre productions and a number of films around the world. She recently directed the musical, Ada The Country. Kemi Lala Akindoju was announced Actor of the Year at The Future Awards 2010, nominated for the same award in 2012, won Best Young/Promising actor at the 2015 Africa Movie Academy Awards, and was honoured with the trailblazer award at the Africa Magic viewers’ choice awards in 2016. Lala holds a Masters Degree in Media and Communication from the PanAfrican University.
With resounding experience as an actor and a producer, Lala runs The Make It Happen Productions. She produced some of the most talked about plays in Nigeria including; The V Monologues, The Wives and London Life Lagos Living.
Lala has worked as the casting director (Africa) on HBO’s Lewis and Clark; Casting director and Associate producer with Ndani TV for ‘Gidi Up’, featured in MNET Africa’s Tinsel, played the lead role in Tunde Kelani’s Dazzling Mirage, featured in Kunle Afolayan’s THE CEO, Biyi Bandele’s FIFTY. Not one for shoddy production, she continues to up her game.
Inem Peter who started her journey in Nollywood with a cameo appearance in Wale Adenuga’s Papa Ajasco, has produced over 15 films, in the likes of Five Wives, Last Date, Lying Game, Hard Fate, A Perfect Past, Broken Wall, My Darkest Dream and more. She has also featured in many other productions like The Village Lord, A Perfect Past, Corporate Maidens and many others.
According to the delectable actress and Instagram sensation born Joy Peter Uboh, she derives more satisfaction in movie production, as it gives her ample opportunity to tell her story just the way she wants it. Peter is better known for shooting mostly relationship- based movies.
Producers like Chinneylove Eze usually lurk in the background, unknown and often underappreciated.
She is the producer of quite a number of movies, including, Hire A Man, Hire A Woman, Devil in Agbada, You Before Us, The Boy Next Door and lots more.
Like many other Nigerian movie producers, Chinneylove Eze started her Nollywood journey as an actor before transitioning into a producer.
“I have always wanted to be a producer. I just didn’t want to get into the industry as a producer. I wanted to really get acquainted with the industry, make friends, and know basically how it works. But I really never had a passion for acting,” she said in a recent interview.
Her decision to understand how the movie industry works before diving into film production, paid off; she is now one of the most sought- after young female filmmakers in Nigeria. The graduate of Economics and Statistics from the University of Benin, was on set again a few days ago, shooting her latest project; The Devil You Know.
Born on August 11, 1988, Chinneylove hails from Aguata in Anambra State and has over 30 movies to her credit.
Uduak Isong Oguamanam, it is unarguable that creativity runs in the family; she is the younger sister to Emem Isong, a seasoned filmmaker. Isong is also an established Nollywood movie director, scriptwriter, and producer.
In 2015, Uduak produced her first movie, “Falling” under her self-owned production company “Closer Pictures”.
Her latest project, Beautiful People which was premiered a few days ago, explores relationships across different generations.
Isong, who recently bagged a Master’s degree in Film from the University of Kent, United Kingdom, said, “I made this film primarily to entertain but also, to provoke and initiate conversations about gender roles, particularly in family settings.”
She is a graduate of Communication Arts and Russian languages from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, and has continued to give the men in the industry a run with her blockbuster movies.
This beautiful plus size actor, producer and entrepreneur is another brand changing the narrative in the make-believe world. As a movie producer, she has featured Stan Nze, who is now her husband in most of her movies.
She is the Chief Executive officer of D’Esparanza Media Production. She has a couple of movies to her credit such as The Recipient, Dirt Dirtier, Binta Kolonko etc. She has also featured in blockbuster movies like, Elevator Baby, Prophetess, Game of Chess while Fractured, launched her into the limelight.
From Abia State in the South Eastern part of Nigeria, the ebony-skinned thespian, attended Federal Government Girls College, Umuahia before proceeding to study Industrial Relations and Personnel Management at the University of Lagos.