#YNaijaFilm100: Charles Okpaleke, Zainab Balogun, Funke Akindele, Baba Agba…Here are the 100 Most Influential Nigerians in Film

YNaija Film 100 List

Meet our Juror:

YNaija Film List
Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw: Kate Henshaw is not a distant name in the Nollywood hall of fame. The actress, entrepreneur, and fitness enthusiasts has successfully built a name for herself in the industry over the years with stellar performances in a number of local and blockbuster movies. Kate has also dedicated herself on matters that range from social injustices to women affairs and has indeed been profiled as one of the most relevant veteran actresses in the industry today.

Film Producers

YNaija Film List
Film Producers

Adekunle Adejuyigbe: Popularly known as Nodash, this is one movie producer that has been celebrated globally. Adekunle has been regarded as one of the 25 most emerging cinematographer’s in the world at one of the most renowned film festivals in the world. Graduating with an electrical engineering degree Nodash began his career slightly over a decade ago in the rooms of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA behind the camera but not as a videographer. Presently, he runs one of the most internationally compliant Nigerian film crew, The Elite Film Team. Adekunle even more recently he has put on his director’s and screenwriter’s hat for his debut feature, The Delivery Boy which won the AFRIFF Globe award for best Nigerian film. It is no doubt that Adekunle is a Nollywood film producer with much influence and recognition in the film industry. 

Kunle Afolayan: It would be disastrous to discuss the progress of Nollywood film and filmmaking without giving due credit to Kunle Afolayan. Coming into fame early in his career, he built up a dedicated following for his performances that ran the gamut from drama to comedy. Kunle, in 2008, stunned the world with his directorial debut, Araromire, a film rooted in traditional folklore with a modern interpretation that proves to the world that Nollywood has never lacked the capacity for great feats. Kunle is quite the producer, director and actor. And has quite the influence in Nollywood. He currently sits as the CEO of Golden Effect Pictures which is a film production company. 

Tope Oshin: Tope Oshin is in a league of her own. With credits like the hilarious New Money and reflective Journey to Self (which pays homage to the iconic Waiting to Exhale), she is proving to be one of the most important voices in Nollywood, in particular for women as the slate for female directors is still very much under-represented. Oshin is unafraid to tackle difficult topics, as can be seen with her work with TIERs Nigeria on their 2018 film, ‘We Don Live Here Anymore’ which featured two lead characters that were queer, unprecedented for Nollywood. 

Jadesola Osiberu: Jadesola Osibieru is one of the sharpest voices working in Nollywood today. And to think we have been blessed with a director this stellar because a new generation bank decided to take a chance on new media.  A representation of the cosmopolitan Nigerian, Jade Osiberu introduced her unique perspective on the lives of upper-middle-class Nigerian youth by writing, directing and producing the break out series, Gidi Up that chronicled the lives of young Nigerians like no other had done in recent memory, becoming one of the flagships shows for Ndani TV with a loyal fanbase that still asks for a third season till today. Jadesola is a Nollywood film director and producer. Although she started off a software developer, she changed her career choice to filmmaking and has since then worked on various local and international projects which includes, the recent popular 2019 movie “Sugar Rush”. 

Beverly Naya: Beverly Naya is not just a known Nollywood actress. The talented actress took on the producer role in 2020 with her self-produced documentary – Skin. Naya was celebrated for the impact of the movie and the awareness it created on the need to be proud of one’s skin. Undoubtedly, Skin, produced by Beverly Naya added to her relevance in Nollywood. The documentary also landed her her first Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) for Best Documentary.

Editi Effiong: Editi may be a newcomer to Nollywood but that hasn’t stopped him from rising to quickly become one of the best executive producers in this part of the world. Many were already familiar with his digital agency, Anakle, and his investment in the growing local technology sector. Now with his producing debut Up North, he has moved into the ranks of the rare Nollywood producer who is able to create a crowd-pleasing narrative without compromising on the standard of filmmaking. Some of this might be attributed to his humility and passion for learning the ropes as effectively as possible. 

Zulumoke Oyibo: As a co-founder of Inkblot productions, Zulumoke’s credits are as varied as they are impressive. She has overseen the biggest scale Nigerian film, Up North which was so well received it debuted at the Facebook Global offices. Zulumoke has also produced record-breaking comedies like The Wedding Party and critically acclaimed independent circuit darlings like The Arbitration. She has also worked in industries like fashion, petroleum, real estate, and e-commerce before committing exclusively to Nollywood via content production and now film. It has been quite the journey. 

Pamela Adie: For the longest part, movies that borders around the LGBTQ experience has been riddled with inaccuracies and misrepresentations and pushed to the fringes by many key players in the industry. Pamela Adie, a Nigerian LGBTQ rights activist, public speaker, screenwriter, and researcher is one filmmaker that is telling authentic and relatable stories about the LGBT community. In 2019, Adie documented her personal life (mostly) in her a lesbian-themed documentary, Under the Rainbow, 2019, which sought to draw awareness on the presence of lesbians (as well as gay men) in Nigeria. In 2020, she installed another movie, Ife, a tender, profoundly accurate romance story about two women in love and navigating homophobia in Nigeria. The film has go on to show in international film festivals.

Funmi Iyanda: Olufunmilola Aduke Iyanda better known as Funmi Iyanda is a talk show host, broadcaster, and producer. Funmi is mostly celebrated for her impact in journalism and her talk show, New Dawn with Funmi, which she produces herself. The show aired for over eight years. Funmi is also the CEO of Ignite Media. In 2011 she was honoured for her web series by the World Economic Forum and was named one of Forbes “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa”. In 2019, Funmi achieved another feat in her career as a producer with the critically acclaimed movie Walking with Shadows which premiered at the African International Film Festival. 

YNaija Film List
Film Producers

Chuko and Arie Esiri: Two heads indeed is better than one. Born 30 minutes apart, Chuko and Arie Esiri are the twin producers in Nollywood currently pulling their weights in making outstanding movies for viewers. The duo is the brain behind the 2020 critically acclaimed movie, Eyimofe. The movie has also been selected for the 2020 Torino Film Festival in Italy. 

Kemi Adetiba: Adetiba is many things. A director, a champion for women, a writer, a producer, and an all-round impressive person. She has always broken the misconceptions of the Nigerian film industry and shown the world that it is possible to make a body of art without sacrificing authenticity and critical acclaim for entertainment value. Never one to compromise her values, Adetiba has chosen projects that appeal to her ethos and moulded those projects to bear the distinct Adetiba signature. Her films fall in line all the way to the juicy box office numbers. From the crowd-pleasing romantic comedy The Wedding Party to the crime noir King Of Boys, Adetiba always commits to telling a compelling story. Kemi holds awards that recognises her outstanding creativity as a movie producer and director.

Steve Gukas:  Steve is a well-known Nollywood film producer. He began his career in the film industry in the early 2000s despite being the managing director of AC radio station previously. Steve is indeed an icon in the industry. Primarily, Steve believes that movies should be created to address the ills of society. In 2020, at the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA), Steve won the “Best Movie West Africa” award, with a cash prize of N1,000,000, for co-producing the movie that birthed the sequel to celebrated 2019 movie, Living in Bondage: Breaking Free.

Charles Okpaleke: Charles is a Nollywood film producer and renowned businessman. Taking Nollywood by the horn with his debut movie was “Living In Bondage: Breaking Free”, Okpaleke showed just how much it is important to tell a story to the finish. Following the movie, Okpaleke has been involved with several publications and profiled as one of the people leading Nollywood to a greater height. His movie, at the AMVCA’s 2020 edition won seven awards out of the eleven awards it was nominated for.

James Omokwe: James is a Nollywood producer with a passion for movies and filmmaking since the ’90s. He has degrees in creative arts and film directing. James has been involved in a number of projects that showed his creativity and directing prowess. His 2018 produced series, ‘Ajoche’ found its way into the hearts of film lovers who followed through the 260-episode show. Since then, he has gained much recognition and awards for his proficiency. In 2020, James was profiled by PulseNG as one of the top producers changing the film industry.

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Ifan Ifeanyi Michael: Ifan is Nollywood producer and equally a celebrity stylist. He has been involved in filmmaking since the early age of five when he was given a role in a movie. Over the years he has been involved in styling celebrities before taking up the producer role with his debut film, “Lotanna.” Ifan has also been involved in a number of projects that has earned him some special recognition. In 2020, his film, Foreigner’s God bagged 16 nominations at the Golden Movie Awards, GMA. Ifan also announced a collaboration with the British Council and the British High Deputy Commission on an LGBT-themed film, ‘We Are Born Girls’. 

Uche Okocha: Uche Okocha is a producer and one of the brain behind Trino Motion Pictures. He is popular for the 2019 film, Three Thieves which was written by the trio, Sammy Egbemawei, Abba Makama and Africa Ukoh. 

Babatunwa Aderinokun: Babatunwa is a producer and the managing director and founder of Trino Motion Pictures. Having studied Business Management at the University of Surrey, he decided to follow his passion for the performing arts and established the studio in 2012. He also co-produced the 2019 comedy film, Three Thieves. 

Oge Obasi: Oge is a Nollywood film producer. She is the production head and a partner at Fiery Film company who was founded by her husband C.J Obasi who is also involved in the film making space as he is a film director. She has featured on several projects such as movies, TV shows and series. She has won several awards over the years. 

YNaija Film List
Film Producers

Mo Abudu: When you think of many new feats that Nollywood is currently bagging, Mo Abudu is not short to mind. Currently described as a “media mogul”, Mo is a Nollywood and TV producer that has featured in a couple of major projects locally and internationally including the popular Nigerian TV show “Moments with Mo”. Mo has gained much recognition and has been described by Forbes as “Africa’s most successful woman”. She is also the founder of EbonyLife TV. In 2020, Mo Abudu landed a partnership deal with the giant streaming platform, Netflix, for the creation of original Nigerian and Africa-themed movies and TV shows.

Chris Ihidero: Chris is a Nollywood film producer and writer that has featured in many projects. He has directed and produced over 100 hours of television series including the comedy classic “Fuji House of Commotion”MTV Base “Shuga” and MNET series “Hush”. He has gained much recognition in the media space over the years. 

Bolanle Austen-Peters: Bolanle is an award-winning Nollywood film producer and businesswoman. She has made quite a name for herself in the media and entertainment space as she is popularly known as the “Queen of Nigerian Theatre”. She has featured in several projects that have come with many awards. She also influences the Nigerian art culture positively as she is the founder of Terra Kulture which is an art centre located in Lagos, Nigeria. 

Ayo Makun: Popularly known by his stage name, A.Y, Ayo is a well-known comedian, actor and Nollywood producer. Although most of his fame can be attributed to his standup comedy years, he has also been involved in quite a number of projects in the Nigerian film industry. He has featured in movies like “30 Days in Atlanta”, “The Wedding Party” and “Merry Men”. Over the years, A.Y has won multiple awards both locally and internationally for his immense contribution to the Nigerian entertainment industry. 

Olumide Makanjuola: Makanjuola is a sexual health and rights advocate with almost a decade of experience in human rights advocacy and programming. In 2019, Olumide co-produced the film adaptation of Jude Dibia’s Walking with Shadows of the same name. The movie highlights the salient issues with being a gay man in Nigeria. Olumide’s years of humanitarian services made him a right fit in the production of the movie which was tagged as one of the most detailed Nigerian gay-themed movies after Tope Oshin’s 2018 drama, We don’t live here anymore.

Biola Alabi: Biola is a Nollywood film producer and renowned businesswoman who is a founding partner of Biola Alabi Media which is a company aimed at producing movies and TV series. She has been named amongst “20 Youngest Power Women in Africa” according to Forbes and she has also won several awards throughout the course of her career.

Mike Bamiloye: Not a few producers would do justice to telling spiritual and Christian-themed movie like Mike Bamiloye would. The Nollywood film producer and actor is the founder of Mount Zion Television and is equally the founder of Mount Zion Faith Ministries. Mount Zion Television produces and directs solely gospel movies and Mike has been involved in quite a number of these projects. He has also been celebrated for his movies and has positioned himself as an authority in telling stories pertaining to spirituality, morality, and Christianity.

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