Kunle Afolayan (listen) (born 30 September 1975) is a Nigerian actor, producer and director.[2] He is widely credited for elevating the quality of Nollywood movies through larger budgets, shooting on 35mm, releasing in cinemas, and improving cliché Nollywood storylines.[3] After starting his film career as an actor in the 1999 political drama Saworoide, Afolayan made his directorial debut in 2006 with Irapada, a Nigerian supernatural thriller, which won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Film in an African Language. His follow-on directing credits include The Figurine, Phone Swap, October 1, and Citation. October 1 was the winner of 16 major African movie awards in 2015 and the second highest grossing Nigerian film in Nigerian cinemas at the time of its release, a feat Afolayan was to repeat two years later with The CEO. In 2021, the director signed a three-picture deal with Netflix.[4] Swallow, the screen adaption of Sefi Atta's book of the same name was the first to be released in October 2021, followed by Aníkúlápó, an epic Nigerian fantasy released in September 2022. Afolayan has described the work as a "Game of Thrones recreated in Nigeria but with a better representation of our culture”.[5]  Eleven days after its release, it was the #1 most-watched non-English Netflix original film.[6]

Kunle Afolayan
Born (1975-09-30) 30 September 1975 (age 48)[1]
Alma materNew York Film Academy
Occupation(s)Actor, Director, Producer
Years active1999-Present
Known forSaworoide, Agogo Ewo, Phone Swap, October 1
Tolu Afolayan
(m. 2007; div. 2019)
ParentAdeyemi Josiah Afolayan (Ade Love - father)
RelativesMoji Afolayan (sister)
Gabriel Afolayan (brother)
Aremu Afolayan (brother
Anu Afolayan (brother)

Early life and career edit

Afolayan is of Igbomina-Yoruba descent, from Kwara State.[7][8][9] He is the son of the theatre and film director Ade Love. He majored in economics and started out working in a bank while doing some casual acting, before deciding to move into full-time filmmaking and taking a course at the New York Film Academy.[9] Since 2005 he has been active in the Nigerian film industry. He has made several films including: The Figurine: Araromire which was in the Yoruba and English languages and Phone Swap which featured Wale Ojo, Joke Silva, Nse Ikpe Etim and Chika Okpala. The Figurine won five major awards in the African Film Academy and was successful in Nigerian movie theaters.[8]

Afolayan appeared at the Subversive Film Festival in 2011 where he represented the Nigerian film industry[10] with his colleague Zeb Ejiro.[8] In May 2013, Phone Swap premiered in France at the first edition of NollywoodWeek Paris and won the Public Choice Award.[11]

Personal life edit

Afolayan married Tolu in 2007, and they have four children.[12] Their marriage ended in 2019.[13] He identifies as a Free-thinker.[14]

Golden Effects Pictures edit

Afolayan is the CEO of Golden Effects Pictures, a Nigerian film and production company incorporated in 2005.[15][16][17] The company's feature films include Irapada, The Figurine, Phone Swap,[18] October 1, Roti, Omugwo, The Tribunal, The CEO and Mokalik.[15]

Netflix deal edit

The filmmaker struck a deal with Netflix in 2021 to make three feature films, including a screen adaptation of Sefi Atta's book Swallow. He and the writer penned the script which reportedly has a major twist from the original story. The movie revolves around a woman who begins to consider going into drug trafficking in mid-'80s Lagos.[19]

His 2022 film Anikulapo was the most nominated film at the 2023 Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards, with 16 nods.[20]

Controversy edit

On 6 April 2015, Afolayan posted a tweet which implied that Igbos were the majority group behind copyright infringement in Nigeria. The backlash from fans led to an apology from Afolayan and an explanation that he was concerned about the piracy of his films, and most especially threats on the potential release of unlicensed copies of October 1, his latest film at the time.[21][22] Shortly after his outburst, pirated copies of October 1 hit the market on 13 April 2015.[23]

In an interview with Cable magazine,[24] Afolayan was quoted as saying he does not watch Nigerian movies; ″Truth be told, I hardly watch them because I am keen on watching movies that will challenge me and change my orientation about certain things.″ and this led to him receiving several heated responses from fans and some colleagues in the Nigerian movie industry.[25] Days after this News broke, Afolayan shared a video on social media where he announced that he had been taken out of context and then tried to set the record straight[26]

Filmography edit

Year Film Role Notes Ref
Actor Director Producer Writer
1999 Saworoide Yes
2002 Agogo Eewo Yes
2005 Ti Ala Ba Ku Yes
2006 Irapada Yes Yes Yes Yes [27]
Èjiwòrò Yes
2007 Onitemi Yes
2009 The Figurine Yes Yes [28]
Farayola Yes
2012 Phone Swap Yes Yes Yes [18]
2014 Dazzling Mirage Yes [29]
October 1 Yes Yes Yes [23]
2016 The CEO Yes Yes [15]
2017 The Bridge Yes Yes [30]
Omugwo Yes Yes [31]
2018 Crazy People Yes
2019 Mokalik Yes Yes [32]
Diamonds in the Sky Yes [33]
2020 Citation Yes [34][35]
2021 Ayinla Yes [36]
Swallow Yes Yes Yes Yes [37]
A Naija Christmas Yes [38]
2022 Anikulapo Yes Yes Yes
2023 Ijogbon [39] yes

Awards and nominations edit

Year Award Category Film Result Ref
2019 Best of Nollywood Awards Director of the Year Diamond in the Sky Nominated [33]
2021 Net Honours Most Searched Actor Nominated [40]
2023 Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards Best Indigenous Language – Yoruba Anikulapo Won [41]
Best Movie West Africa Nominated
Best Overall Movie Won
Best Director Nominated

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Its Kunle Afolayan's birthday". The Nation. Archived from the original on 2014-10-07. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Kunle Afolayan set to release 'ROTI'". Vanguard News. 2017-05-21. Retrieved 2022-03-08.
  3. ^ "Out of Africa: Kunle Afolayan bids to bring Nollywood cinema to the world". the Guardian. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  4. ^ Grater, Tom (2021-03-10). "Netflix Partners With Nigerian Filmmaker Kunle Afolayan On 3 Features". Deadline. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  5. ^ BellaNaija.com (2022-08-02). "Kunle Afolayan's Film "Anikulapo" is Coming to Netflix on September 30!". BellaNaija. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  6. ^ YNaija; YNaija (2022-10-12). "Aníkúlápó ranks No.1 globally on Netflix". YNaija. Retrieved 2022-11-19.
  7. ^ Akande, Victor (22 December 2012). "Kunle Afolayan on the trail of Yoruba deities". The Nation. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "'Mi smo nova filmska revolucija'". www.tportal.hr. Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  9. ^ a b "234Next.com". Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2009-12-18.
  10. ^ "Nollywood rivals Bollywood in film/video production". United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. 5 May 2009. Archived from the original on 2017-03-31. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  11. ^ "NollywoodWeek Paris". nollywoodweek.com. Archived from the original on 2018-10-06. Retrieved 2019-02-06.
  12. ^ "Kunle Afolayan: "Does our Government consider Us worthy Citizens of Nigeria?"". bellanaija.com. 8 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  13. ^ "I work too hard but i'm still a tenant" – Kunle Afolayan to relocate from Nigeria". dailypost.ng. 7 March 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Dad didn't encourage his children to act -Kunle Afolayan". Ilorin Info. 21 October 2013. Archived from the original on 2015-12-22. Retrieved 18 December 2015.
  15. ^ a b c "The CEO: Kunle Afolayan unveils cast of multi-lingual movie". The Nation. August 29, 2015. Archived from the original on 2018-11-18. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  16. ^ "NET Special: 2014 Most influential people in entertainment". Nigerian Entertainment Today. 2014-11-17. Archived from the original on 2019-01-22. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  17. ^ Nigeria, News Agency of (2017-11-19). "Nollywood powerful tool for "soft" diplomacy – Audu Kadiri". TODAY.NG. Archived from the original on 2019-01-30. Retrieved 2019-01-29.
  18. ^ a b "His New Movie "Phone Swap" Beat Hollywood Blockbusters in Nigerian Cinemas: Find Out How Award Winning Filmmaker Kunle Afolayan Did It!". BellaNaija. 2012-04-19. Archived from the original on 2019-01-22. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  19. ^ "Kunle Afolayan Reveals Upcoming Movie Projects Wit".
  20. ^ "AMVCA 2023: And The Big Nominees Are…". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2023-04-22. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  21. ^ Chidumga Izuzu (9 April 2015). "Kunle Afolayan on controversial tweets: "I was not aware of the Oba's comment, I was just bitter" [Video]". pulse.ng. Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  22. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: "I Was Just Bitter", Kunle Afolayan On His 'Igbo' Tweets - Channels Television". Channels Television. Archived from the original on 2015-04-11. Retrieved 2015-04-09.
  23. ^ a b ""Pirated copies of October 1 film now released, please don't buy"". Pulse Nigeria. 13 April 2015. Archived from the original on 2017-04-04. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  24. ^ "INTERVIEW: Why I enrolled my son in a mechanic workshop, by Kunle Afolayan". thecable.ng. 15 September 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-12-04. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Egor Efiok slams Kunle Afolayan over comment of not watching Nollywood movies". Nigeria News - Laila's Blog. 16 September 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-10-28. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  26. ^ says, Stefanie (17 September 2018). "Kunle Afolayan Debunks Nollywood Film Rumour". P.M. News. Archived from the original on 2018-10-28. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Leila Djansi's Sinking Sands Listed On CNN Among 10 Must-See African Films". news1ghana.com. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  28. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. (28 October 2013). "Halloween 2013 Countdown - Nigerian Director Kunle Afolayan's Horror/Thriller 'The Figurine'". IndieWire. Shadow and Act. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  29. ^ Nwanne Chuks (28 June 2014). "Lala Dazzles In Kelani's Dazzling Mirage". The Guardian (Nigeria). Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2014.
  30. ^ nollywoodreinvented (2019-09-13). "The Bridge". Nollywood REinvented. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  31. ^ "Kunle Afolayan, Omowunmi Dada, Ayo Adesanya attend media screening". www.pulse.ng. 2017-04-05. Retrieved 2019-11-03.
  32. ^ "Movie Review: Kunle Afolayan's 'Mokalik' thrives on memory, not viewer satisfaction". 2019-11-24. Retrieved 2020-05-06.
  33. ^ a b Bada, Gbenga (2019-12-15). "BON Awards 2019: 'Gold Statue', Gabriel Afolayan win big at 11th edition". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  34. ^ Augoye, Jayne (November 3, 2020). "Kunle Afolayan screens 'Citation' in Lagos". Premium Times. Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  35. ^ Report, Agency (2022-07-08). "Kunle Afolayan's Citation wins 'Best International Film' in UK award". Premium Times Nigeria. Retrieved 2022-07-29.
  36. ^ Nwogu, Precious (14 December 2020). "Tunde Kelani announces production of Ayinla Omowura biopic titled 'Ayinla'". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 12 May 2021.
  37. ^ "Swallow (2021) review – this is hard to swallow". Ready Steady Cut. October 2021. Retrieved 2 October 2021.
  38. ^ Kennedy, Lisa (16 December 2021). "'A Naija Christmas' Review: Honoring a Mother's Wish - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved December 16, 2021.
  39. ^ "Ijogbon", Wikipedia, 2023-10-15, retrieved 2023-10-18
  40. ^ "Net Honours - The Class of 2021". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 2021-09-07.
  41. ^ "Full List: Here are all our AMVCA 9 Nominees". AMVCA - Full List: Here are all our AMVCA 9 Nominees. Retrieved 2023-04-23.[permanent dead link]

External links edit

Kunle Afolayan at IMDb