IWD 2023: Celebrating five women in Nollywood

In commemoration of International Women’s Day which was held across the globe on March 8, The Nation spotlights five Nollywood women who have taken on the roles of directors, producers, writers, and actors, either on single projects or in different films.
Tope Oshin: Temitope Aina Oshin is a Nigerian film director, producer, consultant, and casting director for television and film. She is also the founder and CEO of Sunbow Productions. She was named one of the Okay100 Women of 2017 by OkayAfrica and can be described as a multiple award-winning filmmaker who has directed several thousands of hours of TV content. Her expertise can be seen in TV shows like MTV Shuga, and films that include ‘Up North’ and ‘Here Love Lies,’ which recently launched on Netflix.

Biodun Stephen: Biodun Stephen’s life has always been around the creative industry from featuring as a young actor on TV soap operas to taking up a role as a radio presenter and copywriter for an advertising agency. In 2010, she dumped a lucrative job to become a Nollywood filmmaker and finally put out her first film – The Visit – in 2014. The film received two nominations at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. It’s been 13 years since she made the bold move to return to the industry, and she’s still going strong. With several made-for-TV and cinema films like ‘Picture Perfect,’ and ‘Joba,’ she continues to stand out. Some of her recent projects are ‘Smokescreen,’ ‘The Last Days of Lola Sampson,’ and ‘A Night Alone.’

Diane Russet: Not many TV audiences give ex-housemates of Big Brother reality shows a chance at creativity. However, Diane Russet has morphed from the quiet 24-year-old viewers saw in 2019 to a fiery producer in 2023. She dipped her toes into filmmaking with short films and she made great success with productions like ‘Bayi,’ ‘The Therapist,’ ‘There Is Something Wrong With The Bamideles,’ ‘Mo X Mel,’ and ‘Storm.’ She moved on to web series with ‘Ricordi’ being her first. The web series has gone on to become a fully-expanded TV series on Africa Magic Showcase. Interestingly, she appears in most of her projects as an actor, producer, and director.

Funke Akindele: Funke Akindele has had decades of acting since her feature on the educational series, ‘I Need To Know’ and charted a path few could dream of. Refusing to be caged into any corner of the industry, she’s appeared in English-speaking and Yoruba-speaking films. She had her first lead role and producer experience in ‘Ojo Ketala,’ and her directorial debut in ‘Your Excellency.’ A few years later, she wrote Jenifa, her first screenplay, and took on the role of ‘Jenifa’ in the 2008 movie that changed her life completely. Since ‘Jenifa,’ Funke has acted in over 50 films like ‘Dwindle,’ ‘Isoken,’ ‘Maami,’ ‘Moms At War’ and more. She has produced films like ‘Omo Ghetto,’ ‘Double Trouble,’ and ‘Battle on Buka Street.’ In 2015, she converted Jenifa into a series in which she scored producer credit.

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