Omoni Oboli & Funke Akindele, Nollywood filmmakers

Top 10 female Nollywood filmmakers 2024

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Women are leading in different spheres of life and breaking new ground. The entertainment industry is no exception because the women here have proven to be game changers. Yes, these amazing women must be acknowledged for their efforts towards developing and growing the industry as female Nollywood filmmakers in Nigeria.

Below is a list of amazing female filmmakers who have contributed immensely to Nollywood:

1. Funke Akindele

Olufunke Ayotunde Akindele was born on 24 August 1977 in Lagos state. She studied Mass Communication at Moshood Abiola University and Law at the University of Lagos. 

Her journey into stardom began when she appeared in a TV series called “I Need to Know,” sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and running from 1998 to 2002. She became more famous after a self-produced movie in 2008. 

Akindele has been consistent with movie-making since her debut in 1998. She has featured in numerous movies, both in English and Yoruba. Jenifa, as she is fondly called, has produced and acted in many movies. Her movies: ‘Omo Ghetto’, ‘Battle on Buka Street’, and ‘A tribe called Judah’ are currently the highest-grossing movies in Nigeria.

Her series, ‘She must be obeyed,’ gives an insight into bullying. This movie portrays how youngsters are in a hurry to showcase their talent but do not understand or take necessary precautions by getting a lawyer, understanding the contract they intend to sign, and, most importantly, being educated on how the industry works. 

Funke is an award-winning actress, director, producer, and scriptwriter. She has won several awards both locally and internationally. In 2009, she won Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards, Best Actress—Nigeria Entertainment Awards, and Best TV Series at the 2017 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, to name a few.

2. Mo Abudu

Mosunmola Abudu, popularly known as ‘Mo’, is a Nigerian media mogul and filmmaker. She was born on 11 September 1964 in Hammersmith, West London. She studied Human Resource Management as a Master’s degree at the University of Westminster, London, after studying at West Kent College.

In 2013, Hollywood Reporter listed Mo among the 25 most powerful women on Global TV. She is a recipient of many awards within and outside Nigeria. After a career in human resource management, she ventured into the media business in 2006 by starting Ebony Life TV.

Mo established EbonyLife Films in 2014 and produced her first movie, ‘fifty’  in 2015. Ever since, she has been at the top of filmmaking in Nigeria, producing and directing. 

Her recent works are ‘Iyawo mi (My Wife) ‘ and’ Her Perfect Life.’  These two short movies focus on mental health challenges that have become prevalent in our society.

In 2019,  Mo was awarded MIPTV’s Médailles d’Honneur, in Cannes, France. In 2020, she was listed among the top 100 most influential people of African descent in the United Kingdom. She is also the recipient of an honorary degree from Babcock University.

3. Toyin Abraham Ajeyemi

Toyin is a renowned actress and filmmaker. She was born on September 5, 1980, in Edo State. She studied Marketing at Ibadan State Polytechnic to earn a Higher National Diploma (HND) Certificate. Toyin, known for her unique ways of interpreting roles, has produced and starred in numerous movies. 

Toyin is not just a filmmaker but a businesswoman and brand influencer. She is a recipient of many awards, both local and international. Her movies make a good fortune at the Nigerian box office, as she is regarded as one of the top cinema movie makers.

She is also one of the most-grossing and highest-paid actresses in Nigeria. Toyin’s movie, Ijakumo, was one of the highest-ranking Nollywood movies of 2022.

In 2017, she won Best Supporting Actress at the Five Continents International Film Festival and Best Actress in a Drama at Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards 2020.

4. Kemi Adetiba

Kemi was born in Lagos on 8 January 1980. She graduated from the University of Lagos with a bachelor’s degree in law. She is now a filmmaker but started out as a presenter on Rhythm FM Lagos.

She also ventured into directing music videos, which earned her many accolades. Kemi is known for creating masterpieces; her movies have always emerged as blockbusters. The most notable is ‘King of Boys’, which became one of the highest-grossed movies in 2018.

Kemi has won several awards, including Best Female Video at Nigeria Entertainment Awards, Best Female Video at Sound City TV Music Video Awards, and Best Music Video Director at City People Entertainment Award 2015.

5. Jade Osiberu

Jade is a Nigerian director, producer, and writer. Born 18 August 1985 into a royal family in Epe, Lagos. She obtained a degree in Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Manchester. She also studied Media and Communication at Pan-Atlantic University.

Although she is a software engineer, her love for filmmaking made her change her career. She has written, directed, and produced both series and movies. Some of her award-winning series are Gidi Up and Skinny Girls in Transit. Her recent works are Brotherhood, Gangs of Lagos, and Everything Scatter.

She has received awards such as the 2018 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) for Best Director. In the same year, she headlined the Nollywood Film Festival in Scotland.

Jade established a production company called Tribe85 Productions to project African stories to a global audience. 

6. Omoni Oboli

Omoni Oboli was born 22 April 1978 in Benin, Edo state. She studied French at the University of Benin. Omoni would later go to New York Film Academy to study digital editing. 

Her first feature was “Bitter Encounter” in 1996, in which she played a secretary. After appearing in numerous movies, Omoni took a break from acting but came back after a decade. As a filmmaker, she has worked in various capacities—scriptwriter, co-producer, director, actress, and executive producer. 

“The Rivals” — a movie she co-produced, won “Best International Drama at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival. She is the first Nollywood actress to win two non-African international film festivals.

2010, at the Los Angeles Movie Awards, she won Best Actress Narrative Feature. Also, at the ELOY Awards 2014, she emerged as the Big Screen Actress of the Year. Some movies Omoni directed are Okafor’s Law, Wives on Strike, The First Lady, and Being Mrs Elliot.

7. Ruth Kadiri

Ruth Kadiri was born on 24 March 1988 in Benin City, Edo State. She studied Mass Communication at the University of Lagos and Business Administration at Yaba College of Technology. 

Ruth has been consistent in movie production, acting, and screenwriting, which has made her a favourite of many. 

She has co-written and produced several films, including Heart of a Fighter, Sincerity, Ladies Men, Over the Edge, and First Class. She received the Nigeria Entertainment Awards for Actress of the Year in 2015 and Best Actress of the Year at the 2018 City People Movie Awards.

8. Bolaji Ogunmola

Bolaji received Primary and Secondary education in Lagos and Ibadan, respectively. She then studied Business Administration at the National Open University of Nigeria and trained professionally as an actor at the Royal Arts Academy. 

Bolaji came into the limelight through a reality TV show called “Next Movie Star” in 2013—ever since she’s been very active. Her first feature as a professional actor was “Okon Goes to School.”

News Guru listed her as one of the five most promising Nollywood actresses for her role in Sobi’s Mystic. Bolaji greatly admires Biodun Stephen, Oprah Winfrey, and Mo Abudu. In 2020, she won Revelation of the Year by Best of Nollywood Awards. She has produced many movies, streamed on online platforms and watched in the cinema.

9. Tope Oshin

Tope was born on 10 June 1979. She studied Economics at Lagos State University and Theatre Arts at the University of Ilorin.

Her love for filmmaking motivated her to delve more; she read Film Production and Cinematography at Colorado and Met Film School, respectively. After spending over a decade in acting, she ventured into directing and became an associate producer. 

Oshin has produced and directed many blockbusters such as Hotel Majestic, Hush, Young Smoker, Up North, and New Horizons. As a memorial to one of Nollywood’s top female producers who passed on in 2014, Amaka Igwe; Tope produced and directed a documentary called “Amaka’s Kin: The Women of Nollywood.” This movie addresses the challenges female directors face in a male-dominated industry. 

Tope Oshin has received many awards which include Best Directing at The Audiovisual Awards, Best Short Film at the Abuja Film Festival, Best Movie with a Special Message, and Best Documentary at the Best of Nollywood Awards.

10. Mary Remmy Njoku

Mary Remmy Njoku was born 20 March 1985 in Amuwo Odofin, Lagos state. She is a native of Nsukka, in Enugu State. She attended Amuwo Odofin High School, Navy Town Secondary School, and National College Bagada.

Mary started acting in secondary school and joined Nollywood in 2003. Her first feature was in a movie titled “Home Sickness” in 2004. She became famous after appearing in “Blackberry Babes” in 2011. She obtained a degree in English Language at Lagos State University. In 2012, Mary went to the United Kingdom to study Producing at the London Film Academy. 

Through her company, Rok Studios, she has produced over 500 films and over 25 TV series. In 2018, she launched two new channels on DSTV: ROK 2 and ROK 3. These channels showcase movies, music, and programmes featuring artists from Nigeria and beyond.

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