Mo Abudu, Funke Akindele, Jade Osiberu Earn Coveted Spots On Hollywood Reporter’s 40 Most Powerful Women In International Film List

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In a remarkable achievement for Nollywood, filmmakers Mo Abudu, Funke Akindele, and Jade Osiberu have been honored by The Hollywood Reporter in their prestigious list of the 40 Most Powerful Women in International Film. This accolade celebrates women who are elevating stories to the global stage and fostering new voices despite challenges in the film market.

The description of these three women by The Hollywood Reporter was nothing short of captivating.

The magazine highlighted Mo Abudu’s resilience and innovative spirit, stating, “Africa’s production industry was hit this year by the news that Amazon Prime Video was getting out of the African originals business. But Abudu, who pioneered African media — first as a talk show host, then TV and film producer and now theater chain owner — has always found a way. Her most recent project is the short film Dust to Dreams, directed by Idris Elba, that tapped funding from the African Export Import Bank’s new $1 billion Creative Africa film fund. Abudu believes the international industry still struggles to embrace the full spectrum of diverse stories. ‘We need a systemic shift towards inclusion,’ says Abudu, ‘recognizing that diverse storytelling isn’t just about representation; it’s about unlocking a wealth of untapped creative potential.’

Producer of Film One Entertainment, Funke Akindele, was praised for her multifaceted career and recent political engagement. The Hollywood Reporter wrote, “The Nigerian multihyphenate added politician to her long list of professions (actor, writer, director, producer) when she was picked as a running mate for the 2023 Lagos state gubernatorial elections. Akindele’s People’s Democratic Party lost the vote, but her day job has been going just fine: Her latest comedy, A Tribe Called Judah, which she of course wrote, directed and produced, in addition to playing the lead role, smashed box office records to become the highest-grossing Nigerian movie of all time, earning some $1.2 million theatrically.”

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Jade Osiberu, the founder of Greoh Studios was also commended for her artistic ambition and her innovative storytelling ability was highlighted in the magazine’s profile. The magazine reported, “Arguably the most artistically ambitious of a new generation of multihyphenate Nigerian producer-directors, Osiberu channeled her inner Scorsese to deliver elevated crime thriller Gangs of Lagos for Amazon. Her next feature, Everything Scatter, follows the stories of five young people whose lives intertwine over a day when street protests break out across Lagos.”

Reacting to the recognition, Mo Abudu expressed immense pride, 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.”

Other filmmakers featured on the list include Maren Ade and Janine Jankowski (Germany), Lila Avilés (Mexico), Farhana Bhula (U.K.), and Clémence de Lampugnano (France).

This recognition underscores the growing influence and impact of Nollywood filmmakers on the global stage, highlighting their contributions to the international film industry.

Melissa Enoch

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