African Film Directors; Nigerian Film Directors Kemi Adetiba and  Kunle Afolayan

Kemi Adetiba 

Kemi Adetiba is a renowned Nigerian music director who only recently made her feature film directing debut with the movie, ‘The Wedding Party’. As a music director, Kemi has directed music videos for top Nigerian artists like Tiwa Savage, Banky W, Ty Bello and Olamide among others.

She studied filmmaking at the New York Film Academy and in 2009, she directed a short film, ‘Across a Bloodied Ocean’. The film was screened at the National Black Arts Festival and the Pan African Film Festival.  

In 2016, Kemi directed her first feature film, ‘The Wedding Party’, which made history as the highest grossing Nigerian film. She also co-wrote the film which shows ‘the shenanigans that go on during the planning of a wedding in Nigeria’.

In 2017, she began working on a passion project, a TV series, ‘King Women’. ‘King Women’ is an interview-based series that features Nigeria’s powerful women as they tell their stories.

On why she developed ‘King Women’, “The reason why I developed King Women is because I wanted women to see these role models of the earth, these women that we draw inspiration from that we put on pedestals, I wanted them to see them in their glory, but also understand that they have also gone through life, and life for them was not easy… People need to hear these stories, and I’m so grateful to everyone who gave me their time to make this series.” – Kemi Adetiba


Kunle Afolayan

Kunle Afolayan is a Nigerian actor, producer and director. He is one of the most successful film directors in Nigeria with 5 of his films on the list of the top 50 highest grossing Nigerian films of all times.

Kunle studied filmmaking at the New York Film Academy, to pursue a career in filmmaking, following on the footsteps of his father, film director, Ade Love. He made his directing debut with the film ‘Irapada’ which won an award at the 2007 Africa Movie Academy Awards. The movie was also named on CNN Africa Voices as one of the Best African Films of the 21st century in 2013.

In 2009, he directed his second film, ‘The Figurine’, which won 5 awards at the 6th Africa Movie Academy Awards out of 10 nominations. Kunle’s other films include ‘Phone Swap’ (2012), ‘October 1’ (2014) and ‘The CEO’ (2016), films that are in the list of the 50 highest grossing Nigerian films.

“Just barely from thinking alone, I construct movies in my mind. My background and where I am from also influences the movies I create. Whenever I want to produce a movie, I make sure that I leave people thinking, I make them ask questions, I usually don’t conclude my movies, I let viewers talk about it, I leave them wondering. I try not to entertain alone but also to get them thinking.” – Kunle Afolayan


To laud the great contribution by African film directors, Film Link Africa will be highlighting film directors from around the world in a series we are calling; African Film Directors.  

In this series, we will list African Film Directors in no particular order. This series is not about comparison. It’s not about who has made more films or won more awards. It is about celebrating African Film Directors by highlighting their work and contribution to the African film industry, irrespective of their age, race, number of films and/or awards.

See also: African Film Directors Njue Kevin and Judy Kibinge

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