Most Powerful Women in International Film: Nigerian Filmmakers Mo Abudu, Jade Osiberu, and Funke Akindele Get Global Recognition

by Joseph Omoniyi
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Nollywood filmmakers Mo Abudu, Jade Osiberu, and Funke Akindele have been named among the top 40 Most Powerful Women in International Film by The Hollywood Reporter. This prestigious list highlights women whose impactful storytelling nurtures new voices and transcends the challenges of the global film market.

Mo Abudu: A Trailblazer in African Media

Mo Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Media, has long been a pioneering force in the African media landscape. Despite the setback of Amazon Prime Video exiting the African originals market, Abudu continues to thrive. Her recent project, “Dust to Dreams,” directed by Idris Elba, received significant funding from the African Export-Import Bank’s $1 billion Creative Africa film fund. Abudu underscores the importance of diversity in storytelling, advocating for systemic changes in the international film industry. “Diverse storytelling isn’t just about representation; it’s about unlocking a wealth of untapped creative potential,” she asserts.

Funke Akindele: Multifaceted Talent

Funke Akindele, known for her versatility as an actor, writer, director, and producer, added politician to her resume by running for the 2023 Lagos state gubernatorial elections. Although her party did not win, Akindele’s career soared. Her latest comedy, “A Tribe Called Judah,” which she wrote, directed, produced, and starred in, broke records to become the highest-grossing Nigerian movie ever, earning $1.2 million. Akindele’s success story is a testament to her resilience and creative prowess.

Jade Osiberu: Leading Voice in Nigerian Cinema

Jade Osiberu, the founder of Greoh Studios, has established herself as a leading producer-director in Nigeria. She gained significant acclaim for her crime thriller “Gangs of Lagos,” created for Amazon. Her upcoming film, “Everything Scatter,” is set against the backdrop of protests in Lagos and follows the lives of five young individuals over the course of a day. Osiberu’s work continues to resonate with audiences, bringing Nigerian stories to the forefront of international cinema.

A Proud Moment for Nigeria

Reacting to the recognition, Mo Abudu expressed immense pride in the achievement, stating, “This recognition is a massive win for Nigeria! Seeing our nation celebrated for its incredible storytelling potential is so inspiring. I’m incredibly proud to be part of a movement pushing for a more inclusive film industry that embraces the power of diverse stories.”

Global Recognition

Other notable filmmakers on The Hollywood Reporter’s list include Maren Ade and Janine Jankowski of Germany’s Komplizen Film, Lila Avilés of Mexico’s Limerencia Films, Farhana Bhula from the UK’s Film4, and Clémence de Lampugnano from France’s TF1 Film Production. The inclusion of Abudu, Osiberu, and Akindele among such esteemed company underscores the growing influence and recognition of Nigerian cinema on the world stage.

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