Kunle Afolayan- Filmmaker Extra ordinaire
Kunle Afolayan is a popular Nigerian Filmmaker, actor and film director. He can be said to one Nigeria's most hardworking and successful movie producers. Many of his movies are among the top 20 highest grossing Nigerian movies ever.
Kunle Afolayan, born on 30 September 1974 and of Igbomina-Yoruba descent, from Kwara State, is a popular Nigerian Filmmaker, actor and film director. He can be said to one Nigeria's most hardworking and successful movie producers. Many of his movies are among the top 20 highest grossing Nigerian movies ever. He is the son of Adeyemi Josiah Afolayan, popularly called Ade Love, the late famous theatre and film director and producer.
He majored in economics and started out working as a banker while doing some casual acting. Before he became a filmmaker, Kunle started off as an actor in 1998, and when the zeal, anxiety and dream of wanting to become a filmmaker came, he approached established filmmakers like Tade Ogidan and Tunde Kelani. On Kelani's advice, he took a course at the New York Film Academy.
Kunle Afolayan is now one the most prolific film makers in Nigeria, he is one of the few film makers who was able to propel African films into cinemas. Nollywood is mainly a home video industry, which means once a film is completed, the videos are distributed straight to DVD distributors. so in Nigeria, only a small number of films make it to the cinema. Kunle Afoloyan changed this, he was able to draw the Nigerian audience by creating films that are worthy of the African cinema and the international market at large.
One of his movies Figurine was nominated in 10 categories at the 2010 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) the film received great reviews both locally and internationally. His other films include Irapada which means redemption in Yoruba and Phone swap was also welcomed by Nigerian audiences.
Phone Swap is a departure for Afolayan, as well as the industry. His first two movies, Irapada (Redemption) and Araromire (The Figurine), were self-originated stories rooted in juju, the supernatural folklore tales Nigerian audiences never tire of. But he had to pitch for Phone Swap at an advertising agency, who were taking proposals on behalf of Samsung, who saw a branded Nigerian feature as a piece of potentially hot marketing, when Nollywood was really hitting the global consciousness. Samsung later dropped out, but Afolayan went ahead with other corporate sponsors, most importantly BlackBerry. His various "partners" provided about 40% of the $500,000 budget; the rest came from his bank loans and his own pocket.
After the release of October 1 movie Kunle Afolayan became the producer of the second highest grossing Nigerian of all time, the movie gained a lot of awards and positive reviews.
As of 2015 Kunle annouced another film in the making a movie titled “The CEO” many Nigerians already fell in love with the movie before its release following the social media talks.
Kunle Afolayan appeared at the Subversive Film Festival in 2011 where he represented the Nigerian film industry, with Zeb Ejiro. In May 2013, Phone Swap premiered in France at the first edition of NollywoodWeek Paris and won the Public Choice Award. ‘
Kunle Afolayan would prefer to be called him the Mel Gibson of Lagos. "I always show Apocalypto to my crew, because of the language thing. I say to them: 'You don't necessarily have to shoot your film in English for it to be good. You can do Swahili, you can do any language, you can even do no language at all.'" Gibson's not an obvious renaissance-man idol – but crossing boundaries, having international aspirations, is the path forward for Afolayan and what is becoming known as the New Nollywood. The old Nollywood had no time for film festivals.
On exactly how much it cost to produce the movie CEO? “It costs a fortune; we are talking hundreds of millions of naira. We haven't recouped the money and am not sure I will recoup that money because now the economy is bad Part of the funding for CEO, we got from Bank OF Industry (BOI) and that money needs to be paid back, I think I even have about maybe eight months left to pay back and it's a bit scary, because I don't know how I am going to pay it. A lot of Nigerians complain about good quality. But CEO is still doing very well and it's going to be in London.
“I am sure a lot of people will consider me a millionaire after I have made a few successful feature films that have recorded good box office figures and international recognition, But the truth is, it's all make believe just as it is in the movies. If I was living in a better Nation and well-structured country, I probably will be living the life of a celebrity by now but the truth and reality is that, I am still a tenant and so is a lot of our so called celebrities in Nigeria and I am owing banks millions of Naira.
He registered a movie academy, called; KAP Film and Television Academy for which he is looking for investors and partners to actualise the dream of a world class film school
He is brand Ambassador to Air France, Peugeot Nigeria and Hebron.
Kunle is married to Tolu and they have children.
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