Nollywood; The Big Producers

By Uduma Kalu
Babatunde Kelani,
Producer, Cinematography

Adept motion picture practitioner and one of the very few in the professional class. He is a native of Abeokuta, Ogun State. A product of London International Film School, and Managing Director of Mainframe Productions. He calls and determines the shots in commendable productions in Nigeria. Fondly refereed to, as T.K., Kelani was part of the crew that shot the Hollywood film, Mr. Johnson on location in Toro, Bauchi State. This was late Herbert Ogunde’s last effort at celluloid.
He has made outstanding inputs as producer, director, director of photography in pictures such as Oleku, Ayo ni Mofe, kose egbe Ti Oluwa mi ile and lately, Saororide which was screened to usher in the new political dispensation. Kelani who has a passion for the big screen was also the director of photography for the MNET New Directions’s short movies, Twins of the Rain Forest and A Place Called Home.

Oludotan Jacobs
A consummate actor and one of the best hands in the industry, Olu Jacobs trained in England for many years.
A master of both the stage and screen, the Cancerian with a thick frame is a member of the National Theatre of the Great Britain. The Ogun state born native featured in a number of big screen productions among them Ashanti Baby, Dogs of War, Pirates and Vigilante.
He returned to Nigeria from Britain, and was engaged on many television pictures like the Rest-com, Second chance, Mind Bending, and the detective series, Third Eye, where he played the role of the crack detective, Inspector Idaifa.
From television, the actor launched himself on the then flourishing live stage circuit. He has to his credit products like Digging for Gold, The King Must Dance Naked, Holy Child, Kaffir’s Last Game and Trials of Ovoranwen.
Today, Olu is the toast of the home video sector producers and marketers. He has appeared in many home videos such as Onome, Amina, Okun ifa, Daybreak, Fearless, Owura lojo and Ulaga. Lately, he paired up with his wife to star in the MNET New Direction movie Twins of the forest.

Richard Mofe Damijo
Actor, Producer

One of the top rated actors Damijo is a product of the Theatre Arts Department of University of Benin. He featured in the famous television production where he played role of the philosopher, Demeyin in Last Omen and from there, broke out on to the big stage. Immensely talented and very popular, the Delta State born actor no doubt, had a very remarkable career, leaving memorable imprints in the minds of many.
His stage credits also include The King Must Dance Naked, Then Zoo Story, Kurunmi, The Gods are not to Blame, Things Fall Apart, From Zia with Love and many others.
On screen, he has imprints in movies such as Violated, Checkmate, Ripples, Out of Bounds, Mean Girls, Vigilante; Naked scores to settle, suicide Mission, Amandos, Shame and Haunted.

Lari Babatunde
Lari is a tested character with a flair for accomplishment in poetry and journalism. He has over forty decades of his life in the theatre.
Among his peers, Lari commands respect; in fact, they see him as a rare gift to the theatre profession. Many would easily recall the very caring husband, Ladipo of the rested NTA soap opera, Mirror in the Sun. Indeed, Lari has in the last 35 years, thrilled his audience on TV, stage and movie productions like The Village headmaster, For better for Worse, Adio’s Family, Third Eye, Ripples, wind of destiny, Memorial Hospital, Blood Money, Black Powder, Full Moon and lately, Amaka Igwe’s award winning Forever and many others.
On celluloid, he credits are Lion Man shot in England, Omen Love, The Return and Cry Freedom shot in Accra, Ghana. At the count, the Lagos born actor has taken part in over 15 soaps, about 5 celluliod works, had over 15 home video appearances and about 30 stage performances.
He studied at the CMS Grammar School, Lagos and in the USA. After that he worked sometime as reporter for West African Pilot at age 17.
He also trained as a journalist at the London School of Journalism, Mosley College, branch of the London University, and later as actor/director of the Mountainview Theatre School.

Adekunle Adewale Bamtefa

Actor, Producer, director.
Born March 14, 1954, he studied at Remo Secondary School, Sagamu, Ogun State. He went to the University of Ibadan for a diploma in Theatre arts in 1970 and later got a BA, also at the same university. Then he worked as a producer, newscaster and presenter with the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), Western Television Authority (WNTV), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Lagos and in Jos, in Radio Plateau.
After his national service, NYSC in Jos, he returned to the NTA, he was reabsorbed as senior television producer and director. He served NTA for six year and resigned for a job at Latola Films, the Diamond Productions and Family, Kunle Bamtefa associates, which he runs apart from directing and acting which he does full time.
A trained screen director, Bamtefa has imprints in many documentaries and television programmes such as Sura di Tailor, a situational comedy created and directed for the NTA and Magnate which he once directed for African Independent Television (AIT), Lagos.
Outstanding and reputable screen performer, Kunle was in the Nigerian contingent that toured USA, Japan and Germany between 1982 and 1984 with a Flash in the sun, a dance presented at exhibition of 3000 years of Nigerian arts.
Other stage works include Kongi’s Harvest, Spirit of Lagos, The Silent Gods, Trials of Oba Ovaranwen, Marriage of Anasewa and others he featured in as a member of the University of Ibadan Performing Arts Company.
On TV, he starred in such soaps as Mirror in the Sun, Cradle, Magnate and Checkmate-he played the gregarious role of Chief Fuji, the head of the Fuji House of Commotion, a role that endeared him to many.
On video, The THEMA 1997 Best Supporting Actor and Overall Best Actor winner has only few appearances, one celluloid, outing in Ladi Ladipo’s Power.
Movie- Violated, Opera of Love, mortal inheritance, Forgive, Masterkind and Saworide.

Pete Edochie

Trained broadcaster and then head of presenter at the Enugu State Broadcasting service (ESBS) he came on board screen as actor in the television adaptation of Things fall apart, directed by David Orere. He was invited to play the protagonist, Okonkwo, which he delightfully.
With home video, he became the most sought after actor. Lately, he was under criticism for appearing in any movie and that he rehashed Okonkwo’s nuances and mannerisms in his roles.
But marketers insist that they feature Edochie because “he sells movies”. It is difficult to say many movies the bearded titled chief has featured in but some of them include, Felony, Evil Men, rituals, out of Cage.

Joseph Terhemba-actor
Joseph has a strong stage presence. Until 1996, he member of the National Troupe of Nigeria. Born 37 years ago, in Tse-Agberaghbva in Konshika, Benue State. He former staff of the Benue state Arts and Council. His Major job after leaving NTN was his role as Tanko Daruju in the rested NTA soap, Winds of destiny. He was actor in the movie PLC. And he starred in Raging Storm, Heart of Gold, Victim of the Gods, Babysitter.
His stage productions include Marriage of Anansewa, Trials of Ovaranwen and Attahiru, a millennium play premiered in Abuja in December 1999.

Obafemi Lasode-Producer.

Born in Port Harcourt Rivers state, 46 years ago. He is known simply as Sango because of his high budget epic, Sango. He sits at the head of Even Ezra Studios, an audiovisual production in Lagos, reported in Africa’s Vogue production series.
Obafemi who is from Ogun State, he is a prolific filmmaker. He takes inspiration from Fela. He has a Degree in Business Education with bias in international marketing from the Kogod Business School, Amakan University in Washington D.C. and masters in community arts, Brooklyn University, City University of New York. School. His early education was at St Gregory College, Obalande and Lancaster Polytechnic, Coventry, England. Last Amazon; follow up of Sango was released on home video in Nigeria, Europe, Asia and America.

Achibi Samuel Dede
A character actor and trained director, his acting started in 1974. Born in Lagos in early 60s, the six feet tall Rivers State native and certified Voice and Speech trainer was educated at the University of Benin. He has a Degree in Theatre Arts, specialising in acting and directing.
He started screen acting at NTA. Then he got Masters at the University of Port Harcourt where he is teaching acting, voice and speech patterns.
His movie credits include, My Fathers Property, Igodo, Last warrior, Blood Money which shot him into prominence. He directed Evil Men, Maana, Naked wire, the Child and many others. Recently he appeared in Onaco’s Odam.

Ajoke Adamarandan silva, Actress

Trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts and worked at the BBC and the Royal Court Theatre, London, the Lagos state born is celebrated wife of Olu Jacobs. She has starred on stage, television and movie, some of which include Pot Power, Mirror in the Sun, Second Chance, Mind Bending, Jero’s Metamorphosis, The King Must Dance Naked, Holy Child, Digging for Gold, Colours of Tomorrow, Violated, Silent Night, Strange Women, etc.

Henretta Orovosa Kosolo

His real names have been consumed by Omolade, a screen role that shot her into prominence by the same title.
The Delta state born, pretty wife of popular stage and screen actor, Jide Kosoko, speaks Yoruba fluently. Educated at Amuwo Odofin Grammar School, she was a trained Caterer. Omolade, one time Thema award nominee has featured in a number of stage and video productions such as Ojiji, Jokotade and Omodiyan.

Esther Idowu Pillips (Actress)

Popularly called Mama Rainbow, she started acting in the early 70s where she was matron of Osunare Theatre troupe, led by late Femi Phillips, her husband. Her first live stage was in 1972 at the Glover Hall. She played the lead role of the same title.
Widow, mother, trained nurse, the Odogbolu born, Ogun State born actress has starred with Kolonsan, Kanran, Tajudeen Gbadamosi. She gets inspiration from another highly rated Yoruba actress, Mama Oyin Adejobi. The movies he starred include Tinuade, Jensinmi, Edunjobi, Iya Ife, Omo Onikan, Ayanmo, Eri Okan, iya ni wura, Ija Orogun, Wurola, Lakunle Alagbe etc.

Zachee Orji(Actor producer, director,)

He studied Estate Management at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is in the class of very prominent, regularly featured and well paid actors on the Nigeria movie scene. He plays the good husband or lover boy role . A native of Mgbowo, Enugu state, his first job after shutting down his transport business was the role of Chuks in Unforgiven sin (1993). The effort paid off as he has featured in over 40 pictures some of which are True Confession, Betrayal, Ikuku, Deadly Affair, Dead End, Glamour Girls that has remained controversial as ever because of a scene he shared with Eucharia Anunobi, and Love Vendetta.

Segun Aina.

A trained actor from Obafemi Awolowo University, he was forced to adopt the stage name, Segun Arinze, because of the difficulty in marketing his debut album, Dreams. Born Yoruba and Igbo parents, the singer-actor described as the bad man of the screen because of the mean roles he plays, was once married to Ann Njemanze of the Domittila fame. His movie credits are Eye to Eye, Solitary Night, Cursed from Beyond, EyeWitness, Blind Trust, Fortunes, not My Will, power to Blind and Contractors. He Has many stage credits.

Abdul Rasak Abdul (Marketer)

Called Corporate, he is the CEO of Corporate Pictures Ltd, a marketing firm for motional and moving pictures. A well-read businessman, he has marketed such pictures as Obuko, Omowunmi, Iyowo Agbekele and the commercially Imule Ife.

Dolly Unachukwu (actress)

Made prominent by her interpretation of the role of Fadike, the beloved and tolerant wife in the rested TV soap, Mega Fortunes, the Amichi in Nnewi, LGA born Anambra state born actress has appeared in some of these home videos: Wounded Heart, in Opa William’s Deadly Affair where she earned the name, Big, big mama for the film. Since then, she has featured in one film after another. She has a Diploma in LASU and a qualification in TV production from NTA College, Jos.
Her movie credits include: Brotherhood of Darkness tears for Love, Final Decision, Widest Dream, Glamour Girls.
Obirina Nwafor (Actor)
From Mbaitolu, Imo State and called Saint Obi in the movies, the six feet, 2″ University of Jos graduate of Theatre Arts won the Most Visible Actor in home video award as he has graced almost all the home movies produced recently.
He won modelling contracts with Bevista, a fashion outfit and debuted in Without Love. He has been popular, movies have become his career since then. He performed Mike Alade in Goodbye Tomorrow and paired with Hilda Mrakpor in that movie.
Kenneth Okonkwo. (Actor/Producer)
He debuted in the groundbreaking Living in Bondage. From Nsukka, Enugu State, Okonkwo studied Business Management at the UNN. But he caught public attention in his role as Andy, in that pioneer movie.
Former star of TV opera Ripples, he was one of the highest paid actors in the home video sector, which may be the reason why he has appeared in few pictures. His credit include Taboo Betrayal and Aru si yi.
Opa Williams. (Producer, actor)
Delta State born head of Virgin Organization, Williams is one of the most organised producers around. He has a BSC in Economics, University of London, and a master in business Administration, Miami University.
His works include Tears for Love, Deadly affair, Onome, dead End, Without Love, Maami, The Child., the award winner, Sergeant Okoro, which produced the REEL, award winner in Sam Loco Efe.

Kenneth Nnebue

The pacesetter head of Nek Video Links that boasts of most functional productions and postproduction facilities.
He heralded the dawn of most home video production with the release of the 1992 unprecedented Igbo home video, Living in Bondage. Script writer and producer, he has many videos whose distribution, production, publicity and sales are unparalleled in the circuit.
1995 recipient of the Men of Achievement Award, he has produced and marketed Glamour Girls, True Confession, End Time and over 20 Yoruba home movies with Aje ni Iya mi as top of the list.
Bola Anike Obot (Actress)
Ibadan based 1995 Thema movie award winner as Best Actress of the Year because of role in Ayo ni mo fe from the stable of Mainframe productions, she was the little known former dancer and staff of Council for Arts and Culture, Ibadan. She once worked as a clerical officer at the Ibadan Municipal government and Lister Motors, Ibadan. Native of isale Osin, Oyo state she featured in pictures such as Elemosho, Aropin ni Tenia.

Olantunde Laniyan (Actor, Director)

Known in the folk theatre as Chief Kanran, Segun Ige is one of the most popular actors in Yoruba language medium. He acts in English too. Abeokuta born, he was educated at Eko Boys High School, Lagos. His role as Alaafin Karnran on stage of Akinwunmi Isola’s Aiye Ye won tan, earned him the name Kanran. His works include Obirin Asiko, Asiri Nla, Eniyan Dudu and Igba Aimo.

Ejike Asiegbu-(Actor/director)

A 1992 Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Port Harcourt he was born in Umuahia, Abia state, and starred in Thorns of Rose, Millioneers are Saints, Rituals, Venom of Justice, Cross Roads, Love Vendetta etc.

Okey McAnthony Onyegbule(Actor)

Popular stand up comedian and 1992 Agricultural Engineering graduate of Rivers State University of Technology and Technology, Port Harcourt, Okey Bakassi as called, is from Mbaise, Imo State. Movies: Decision, Silent Night, Deadly Affair, Tears for Love, Pam Pam, the one that endeared to many, among others.

Hilda Nwachinamereogu Akarose(Actor)
Hilda Dokubo Akorose Mkrakpor ranks tops among the credible actresses in the local home video. She caught her teeth on live stage. She played the pitiable Nengi, the HIV positive but faithful wife in Goodbye Tomorrow. She is delightful, any day.
Born to the late Prince Benibo Edmund and Princess Stella, the REEL and Thema multiple award winner is from Buguma in Asaritoru LGA, Rivers state. She studied at the Government Girls Secondary School, Port Harcourt and has Diploma and then BA in Theatre Arts with bias for acting, scripting and directing. She proceeded to the Royal College of Arts, London for post graduates in Choreography and Dance.
Her first major stage credit which turned out to become her national outing was her role as Abuna in the stage play, Ebejiba, Rivers state entry for 1981 National Festival Festival of Arts.
Stage: Everyman, His or Her troubles, The Gods are not to blame, Odum Egege, isiburu, Hopes of the Living DEAD, Behold My Redeemer, Aguda etc.
Screen: Above Death, Holy Crime, Without Love, Deadly Passion, Another Campus Tale, Blood Vapour, Black Heart, Eye for Eye which set the REEL and THEMA’99 award Best Supporting Actress diadems.
Other big names in the home video include Liz Benson, Zebrudaya, Sam Loco, Iroha Eke, Segun Olusola, and Peter Igoh.


8 Responses to “Nollywood; The Big Producers”

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