10 Great Nollywood Directors And Their Best Movies

Nollywood as we know it is changing, and it’s incredible to watch!

  • written by Eavesdroppr's
  • 6 min read
  • 24 Aug, 2023

Decades ago, we had some of the best Nollywood titles, from Living In Bondage to Glamour Girls, and all the Aki and Pawpaw movies you could possibly think of. Those were the good old days of Nollywood movies, and we wouldn’t change a thing about it, but boy are we glad to be stepping into a whole new era of Nigerian filmmaking.

Directors weren’t the stars of the show back then, sure, you could throw a few names around and they would be known, but really and truly, directors were the ones who made sure everyone got the job done, they made TV gold and if we’re being honest, they deserved more accolades than they got.

Nowadays, there are so many directors in the film industry that are soaring from movie to movie, they are changing the Nollywood scene as we know it, and we truly cannot get over the amazing titles they’ve given us so far. Here are the directors that have caught our eye recently.

Kemi Adetiba

Kemi Adetiba is a Nigerian filmmaker we all know and love, she’s given us so many great movie titles. From The Wedding Party to King of Boys, she never misses. They don’t call her the “Bruce Lee of visuals” for nothing. 

Kemi Adetiba is an icon, and without her, we wouldn’t have some of the movies we love so much. The Wedding Party changed the way we tell romantic stories in Nigeria, it was refreshing to watch and it was a step in the right direction for Nollywood. King of Boys is another great movie she directed, and all we can say is, Kemi Adetiba is a multi-talented woman that keeps blowing our minds.

Kunle Afolayan

If there’s one thing we love about Kunle Afoloyan, it is that he never stops. From one hit movie to another, he is known for elevating the quality of Nollywood movies, he revolutionized movies and took it from random clichés to stories with substance.

From October 1 to Citation, and his most recent production, Aníkúlápó. The proof is literally in the pudding, his form of storytelling in movies takes you to a whole new world, it’s almost as though you’re transported through space and time into a world that is epic in all proportions.

Niyi Akinmolayan

Niyi Akinmolayan is the founder of Anthill Studios, they are credited for so many  good movie productions. Niyi Akinmolayan recently directed The House Of Secrets, you can tell from the movies he directs that he didn’t come to play. The House of Secrets is a romantic spy thriller that was shot in so many artistic formats, one thing we can say for sure is that Niyi Akinmolayan’s ambition shines through in every movie he makes.

Kenneth Gyang

Kenneth Gyang is a visionary that inspires, he has become a household name in his hometown and all around Nigeria. His immense talent shines through in all the movies he’s directed, and all the projects he touches, turns to gold.

Oloture sparked important conversations around human trafficking and the exploitation of women, this story was brilliantly told and Kenneth Gyang along with his incredible team of cast and crew brought it to life. Kenneth Gyang is one to watch, and his work has received all the recognition they deserve, with more to come.

Tope Oshin

If you loved New Money and Up North, you definitely love this incredible director. Tope Oshin is noted to be one of the most influential Nigerians in film, she is a multiple award-winning filmmaker who has directed so many great productions like MTV Shuga, Tinsel, and so on.

To pay tribute to renowned director, Amaka Igwe, who passed away in 2014, Tope Oshin produced and directed a documentary titled Amaka’s Kin: The Women Of Nollywood in 2016. The documentary addressed  problems faced by female directors from Nigeria who work in a male-dominated field.

Genevieve Nnaji

Genevieve Nnaji, one of Nigeria’s most beloved actors made her directorial debut when she worked on Lionheart, and movie production in Nigeria changed for the better. Lionheart paved the way for other Nigerian titles as it was the first Nigerian film acquired by Netflix. Genevieve Nnaji shows no sign of slowing down, she’s set to work on a movie adaptation of I Do Not Come To You By Chance, and we cannot wait to see it!

Tunde Kelani

When we talk about Nollywood directors, Tunde Kelani is one of the best and most renowned filmmakers in Nigeria, his career has made an impact in Nigeria, especially when it comes to the Yoruba-language films he made for decades. Tunde Kelani is a huge part of the movie industry, his recent movies include Ayinla and Cordelia, and he continues to create epic films that tell the  Nigerian story.

Biodun Stephen

Biodun Stephen is another female director that has changed the Nollywood game for the better, she specializes in romantic drama and comedy films, and she hits the nail on the head every single time. From Sistà to Breaded Life, A Simple Lie, Introducing The Kujus, there’s so many reasons why this director is a fan favorite. Her most recent and probably her best work, Sistà on Prime Video gained a lot of traction, the storytelling and the star studded cast brought a lot of emotions to viewers all over Nigeria.

Biyi Bandele 

Biyi Bandele was an extraordinary writer and filmmaker, he made his directorial debut with the movie adaptation of Half of A Yellow Sun, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He directed Elesin Oba, The King's Horseman which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2022.

Biyi Bandele, a force to be reckoned with, has a lot of great Nigerian titles credited to his name, he directed Fifty in 2015, and it was included in the London Film Festival. He also directed the first Netflix Nigerian original series Blood Sisters.

Jadesola Osiberu 

From the romantic comedy, Isoken, to Gangs of Lagos, movies like this are the reason why we have high hopes for the nollywood industry. Jadesola Osiberu is spicing things up in the movie department, with her newest releases such as Gangs of Lagos and Brotherhood, you can tell that the crime-thriller genre in Nigerian films has gone up.

Movies like this will keep you glued to your screen, and it's thanks to directors like Jadesola Osiberu. There are so many Nollywood directors that have done incredible work in advancing Nigerian films as we know it, they are paving the path for a younger generation of film directors, and with new movies coming out each day, we can say without a doubt that the Nigerian film industry is in very safe hands.

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