2022 has been a weird year for Nollywood and we haven’t even celebrated valentines yet. Kicking things off with Chief Daddy 2, a lot has been said about the industry and the type of stories filmmakers are choosing to tell these days. Breaking out from the mold and creating a path that is uniquely theirs, female directors in Nollywood have been killing the game in an industry and country with odds stacked against them. Set to tell a wide range of stories from hustling gangs on the streets to groundbreaking remakes sure to light up the big screen, these are the female directors to watch out for this year.
Since popping up on the scene, Jade has served as the brains behind one of Ndani TV’s biggest hits, Gidi Up, directed one of the few solid rom-coms Nollywood has put out in a long time, Isoken and also worn the producer hat for the 2019’s blockbuster hit, Sugar Rush and last year’s biographical drama, Ayinla.
This year, Jade is set to return back to the director’s chair with the gritty Gangs of Lagos. Starring Adesua Etomi, Tobi Bakare, Chike, Yvonne Jegede, Pasuma and the Ikorodu Boiz, this project is a complete 180 from her previous works as she delves into the dangerous lives of the gangs of Isale Eko, Lagos.
After many years working as a producer and directing music videos for everyone from Waje to Cobhams Asuquo, Blessing is set to make her full-length directorial debut with No Man’s Land. Shot late last year with a star-studded cast that includes Sola Sobowale, Omawunmi Dada and Seun Kuti making his acting debut, this film features a shit load of violence and guns and we’re all here for it.
You not know her name (yet), but Bunmi Akajaiye is the director behind some of our favourite projects including: Ndani TV’s Skinny Girl in Transit, Toke Makinwa and Falz’ Therapy and last year’s ad-heavy The Smart Money Woman Series. Having transitioned to film with My Wife & I starring Ramsey Noah and Omoni Oboli, Bunmi is set to take on her biggest project yet, the highly anticipated remake of Glamour Girls for Play Network and Netflix. While details surrounding the film are still under wraps, we know it’ll feature the ensemble cast of Toke Makinwa, Nse Ikpe Etim, Sharon Ooja, Joselyn Dumas and Lily Afe.
While Play Network’s remakes have been more misses than hits lately, there’s just something about this project that lifts our hopes.
Ema Edosio started out making music videos under the direction of Clarence Peters, but it wasn’t until she dropped her debut film, Kasala in 2018, that she officially caught our attention. The coming of age film followed a group of teenage boys on a chaotic trip to fix a car they “borrowed” and bashed on the way to a party. Making a comeback nearly four years later, we’re expecting to see Emma’s new film, Umuemu Eseme: The Sins of My Father, which features Gina Castel, Charles Etubiebi and Chimezie Imo some time this year.
This is Kemi Adetiba’s world and we’re all just living in it. She started the owambe movie trend with 2016’s The Wedding Party and as if that wasn’t enough, in 2018, she shook up the industry, introducing us to Eniola Salami in King of Boys (long as hell, but we’re used to it now). Even though she made history as the first Nigerian director with an original series for Netflix with King of Boys: The Return of the King, Kemi is currently working on a secret project. No information on when it’s coming out or what it’s about, but for now, we’ll hold on to this tweet which confirms our gut feeling that something huge is coming