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Leading Nollywood and Kannywood producers

Kunle Afolayan is one of Nigeria’s major film producers. He’s the son of late Adeyemi Josiah Afolayan

A lot of times, so much focus is placed on actors and actresses who star in movies, while forgetting that a lot of people behind the scenes also contribute to the success of every movie. Daily Trust Saturday spotlights a few producers who have been dishing out top-notch quality movies in Nollywood and Kannywood.


Emem Isong: Emem is an award-winning producer from Akwa-Ibom State. She is a graduate of theatre arts from the University of Calabar. She ventured into movie production in 1994 when she co-produced a movie titled ‘Jezebel’. After that, she went on with her first solo production in 1996 titled ‘Breaking point’. Emem Isong is also a screenwriter and director. She also worked alongside Remmy Jez as producer for eight years. She has gone on to win different awards, including Eloy awards for best movie producer of the year with ‘I’ll take my chances’ and ZAFAA awards for Best producer for the movie ‘Memories of my heart’. A few of her movies include ‘Games women play’, ‘Games men play’, ‘Knocking on heaven’s door’, ‘Reloaded’, etc.

Kunle Afolayan: Popularly known for movies like ‘Citation’, ‘the figurine’ and ‘October 1’, Kunle Afolayan is one of Nigeria’s major film producers. He’s the son of late Adeyemi Josiah Afolayan “Ade Love”. After deciding to go into filmmaking full time, Kunle studied at the New York film academy and has been active in the Nigerian film industry since 2005. Over the years, he has worked with Wale Ojo, Nse Ikpe Etim, Joke Silva, Ramsey Noah, Omoni Oboli and amongst others. He has won several awards including; 2012 Abuja international film festival for ‘Phone Swap’, Nigeria Entertainment Award for Film Director of the Year (Nollywood) etc.

Jeta Amata: Born to popular filmmaker Zack Amata, Jeta is a filmmaker who started making movies at a very young age. He directed his first movie at 21 and went on to grow in the film and entertainment industry. He was first recognised internationally for the documentary he produced for BBC and has worked with celebrities such as Kim Basinger, Mickey Rourke, Akon, Wyclef Jean, Fred Amata, Mbong Amata, Ini Edo, Nse Ikpe Etim, among several others.

He has also received 53 nominations and 10 wins for awards in Europe, Africa and the US which makes him one of the most successful filmmakers to come out of West Africa. A few of his movies include ‘Amazing grace’, ‘Inale’, ‘Mary Slessor’, ‘Black November’.

Uzee Usman Adeyemi: Uzee is a Nollywood and Kannywood actor and film producer. He’s greatly applauded for being able to take up roles and fuse both industries together. He began his acting career in 2013 and since then has produced award winning movies. A few of his awards include ‘Oga Abuja’ which won best Hausa movie of the year at the 2013 City People entertainment awards and ‘Maja’ which won the best movie of the year (Kannywood) at the 2014 City People entertainment awards.

Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino: Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino (MON) is a Hausa language writer, author, publisher, film producer and director. He is also one of the pioneer founders of the Kannywood film industry. He has written many scripts for different movies and also produced and directed many movies. He appeared as the main character in the 1995 classic “In da So da Kauna” which is an adaptation of his novel which bears the same name.

His most recent film ‘Juyin Sarauta’ is the most awarded Hausa film in 2017 and 2018. A few of his movies include ‘Kadaran Kadahan’, ‘Sandar Kiwo’, ‘Asiya’.

Kemi Adetiba: Kemi Adetiba is an award-winning Nigerian filmmaker, tv director and music video director. She has had her works featured on different networks such as Channel O, MTV Base, Soundcity TV, BET and Netflix. After years of being a successful TV presenter and host, she enrolled in the New York film academy where she learnt film production. Her short film ‘Across a bloodied ocean’ was screened at the 2009 Pan African film festival and National Black arts festival.

In 2016, she directed the film ‘The Wedding Party’ which premiered at the Toronto international film festival as the opening film of the city-to-city spotlight. Other movies produced by Kemi Adetiba include ‘King of boys’ and ‘King of boys 2’ which will be released on August 27, 2021. Her music videos include ‘My Darlin’ by Tiwa Savage, ‘Anifowose’ by Olamide, ‘Toh Bad’ by Niyola, ‘Follow you go’ by Banky W and many others.

In 2014, she was nominated for best music video director of the year at the Headies awards, she also won the City People entertainment award for best music video director of the year in 2015 and a HNWOTY award for woman of the year in film and television 2017.

Mo Abudu: Mosunmola Abudu popularly known as Mo Abudu is a Nigerian media mogul and philanthropist. She is described by Forbes as “Africa’s most successful woman”.

She established Ebonyfilms in 2014 and her first movie as an executive producer was the film ‘fifty’. Other movies which have been co-produced or executive produced by Mo Abudu include; Your Excellency, the Wedding Party 2, Chief daddy, The Royal Hibiscus hotel. In February 2020, a partnership was struck between ebonylife and Netflix. The streaming network acquired ebonylife drama series; castle & castle, fifty, sons of the caliphate, on the real, the Governor, alongside the reality show ‘the dating game’.

Odunlade Adekola: Odunlade is a Nigerian actor, producer, director and singer. He began his acting career in 1996 and since then has scripted, produced and directed several Nigerian movies. A few of his productions include Ile Afoju, Alani Pamolekun, Oyenusi, Eje tutu.

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