7 Nigerians putting Nollywood on the world map

The movie industry in Nigeria (Nollywood) has come a long way from catering to just its local audience.

Adesua Etomi  has been recognised along with some of the world's most famous actresses on the front cover of Vogue Magazine April issue

These days, Nigerian movies are gradually going global and being appreciated in various parts of the globe.

Business Insider SSA by Pulse takes a look at some of the Nigerians putting Nollywood on the world map:

Adesua Etomi

Last week, Etomi was recognised along with some of the world's most famous actresses on the front cover of Vogue Magazine April issue. The iconic magazine celebrated 14 global talented superstars including the Nigerian actress as well as Hollywood's star, Scarlett Johansson.

During her interview, she shared her experience as a Nigerian actress including her love for Nollywood and her desire for it to be greater.

One of her movies "The Wedding Party" made its debut at the influential Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2016. It is one of the highest grossing films in Nigeria. It is currently available on Netflix.

Genevieve Nnaji

In 2018, Nnaji's directorial debut, "Lion Heart" got picked up by American streaming service, Netflix. It became the first Nigerian Netflix original movie. A few days later, the movie was premiered at TIFF.

Apart from telling a good story about family bond and female empowerment, it also showed off some of Nigeria's best screen icons like Pete Edochie and Onyeka Onwenu at one of the largest film festivals in the world. Reportedly, over 480,000 people attend TIFF every year.

Nnaji was also at the film festival for a 2018 movie called "Farming". It featured Kate Beckinsale and was directed by fellow Nigerian Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde

After joining the movie industry in 1995, at the age of 16, the A-list actress got invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science (Oscars) in 2018.

She has also been recognised as one of the Most Influential 100 People of African descent by the United Nations (UN).

Back in 2013, she was on the Time Magazine's list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. The list featured some of the world's biggest names like Beyoncé and Michelle Obama.

That same year, Ekeinde made a cameo in the first season of a VH1 popular drama series called "Hit The Floor".

Tunde Kelani

This is one of the most respected filmmakers, storyteller, director, photographer, cinematographer and producers in Nigeria. Over the past forty years, Kelani, also known as TK, has produced movies that have showcased Nigeria's rich cultural heritage.

His feature films have been showcased in various countries like New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

Mo Abudu

Since joining the film making industry, the Chief Executive Officer of EbonyLife TV has produced huge movies like "The Wedding Party" franchise, which are the top two highest grossing Nollywood movies.

Three of her movies - "The Wedding Party", "Chief Daddy" and "Fifty" have been acquired by Netflix.

In 2017, Abudu was featured on The Hollywood Reporter's annual list of the ‘25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television'. The next year, she was chosen as one of the academy directors for the prestigious Emmys.

Kemi Adetiba

Adetiba has gone from making music videos to making some of the most watched films in the country.

The New York Film Academy graduate made her entry into Nollywood with the 2016 "Wedding Party". Her second feature film, "King Of Boys," came out in 2018 and it ruled the box office.

It has been selected as one of the three Nigerian films that will be showcased at this year's edition of 'Nollywood in Hollywood' on March 22 and 23 in Hollywood California, USA.

Femi Odugbemi

Odugbemi is a well respected Nigerian filmmaker who became a Voting Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Organisers of the annual Oscar awards) in 2018. He is also the MultiChoice Talent Factory Academy Director for West Africa.

Speaking with the Premium Times, he talked about the possibility of Nollywood films winning Oscars.

In his words, "We have made enough films to at least earn a nomination and we really do have excellent people and excellent talents. And yes, some of our films definitely can compete. It is a delightful personal honour but at the end of the day, what is the point of being a judge if I never see a Nigerian film on the list, what's the joy?"

Continuing, he adds, "I will assure that I will vote for an incredible Nigerian film, I will push, I will fight, I will crawl, as I'm sure the others that are selected from Nigeria will also do the same. But patriotism alone cannot help; we need our industry to take up the challenge so that we (the Nigerian judges) also do not become a laughing stock, that's what is important."

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