- Today, January 2, 2019, marks the 57th posthumous birthday of the late Amaka Igwe.
- Google is celebrating the Nollywood icon with a wonderfully illustrated doodle.
- Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa has compiled all the things to know about this award-winning Nigerian writer, director, entrepreneur, and producer.
Today, the Google Doodle is decicated to the late Amaka Igwe. It was illustrated by Nigerian-raised, Brooklyn-based guest artist Data Oruwari.
The doodle pays homage to the award-winning writer, filmmaker and broadcasting executive credited with raising the bar in Nollywood and fighting for global awareness of the Nigerian film industry.
Here is everything you need to know about this Nigerian iconic filmmaker:
- Origin Story
Uzoamaka ‘Amaka’ Audrey Igwe was born on January 2, 1963, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Her interest in performing arts started at an early age during her A-Levels at Idia College, Benin.
Here, she started writing plays, songs, organized her school's variety shows, taught performance dance like the Atilogwu dance - a traditional dance done by Igbo youth.
- Joining the world of filmmaking
In 1994, Igwe created her first television series screenplay, "Checkmate," which is arguably still the best Nigerian soap opera of the 1990s.
She was inspired after watching some episodes of the Lola Fani Kayode production "Mirror in the Sun." This led her to create a show with a heroine like the legendary Queen Amina that tackled issues like male chauvinism, polygamy and secret cultism.
Next, she made her directorial debut with the feature film "Rattlesnake." This was followed by films like "Violated," "Rattle Snake 2," "Violated 2," "Rattle Snake 3," "Forever" and Forever 2." This was all done from 1995 to 1999. Igwe then directed an MNET short celluloid film called "Barbers Wisdom" in 2000.
In 2001, nearly seven years after her first series ended, she wrote, produced and dominated the Nigerian TV industry with a spin-off - "Fuji House of Commotion."
Her other TV series include "Solitaire," "Now We Are Married," "Infinity Hospital" and "Bless This House."
- Becoming an icon and leaving a legacy
Igwe organised an annual TV market called Best of the Best TV (BOB TV). This served as creative space for filmmakers to share ideas, assess their work and engaging with Nigerian universities, the Motion Picture Industry Practitioners and the Nigeria Government.
Passionate about improving the local industry, she helped organize the guild system that served the executive boards of the Association of Movie Producers. She was also a patron of the National Association of Cinematographers, the Screenwriters Guild and the Guild of Movie Editors.
Igwe fought to put the Nigerian film industry on the world map by leading delegations to South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and France.
She went on to create her own media empire by co-founding Top Radio 90.9FM station, Amaka Igwe Studios, and Q Entertainment Networks.
In 2011, she was announced as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR), an honour reserved for Nigerians who made significant contributions to the nation.
Igwe studied Education/Religion at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) before getting a master's degree in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Ibadan.
- Family life
Igwe met her husband, Charles Igwe, in September 1992. They got married in April 1993 and had three children.
Igwe passed away after an asthmatic attack in Enugu state on April 28, 2014. At the time, the filmmaker was working on pre-production preparation for a new Igbo soap.