Popular, highly-talented actresses, Tonto Dikeh and Toyin Abraham have joined the star-studded list of speakers for forthcoming Nigerian Entertainment Conference (NECLive). The duo have been selected because of their vast knowledge – albeit at times controversial – of the fast-growing Nigerian filmmaking industry.
Nollywood, in the past year, has proven to be one of the biggest entertainment markets on the continent. Previously, the industry had been mainly known globally for its volume of output. It was regarded to be the second largest filmmaking industry behind Bollywood, mainly due to its output. However, in 2016, not only was the record cinema revenue shattered twice, one of the films released in the year comfortably grossed over N500 million in cinemas alone despite the ongoing economic recession. Nigerians did not only embrace the industry despite its infrastructural shortcomings, the world also stood up to take note.
In what is an unprecedented outcome in Nigerian cinema, two Nollywood films made more money overall than Hollywood films in cinemas across the country in 2016. The huge box office successes of Kemi Adetiba’s The Wedding Party and AY Makun’s A Trip to Jamaica ensured that the highest grossing Hollywood film Batman v Superman finished in third place on the chart of the films that made the most money in Nigerian cinemas in 2016.
Also last year, the prestigious, 41-year-old Toronto International Film Festival dedicated its City-to-City programme to Nigeria’s film capital – Lagos. Eight Nollywood films were showcased with the world watching.
Tonto Dikeh has featured in over 40 films since 2006 and she has released 7 music singles after launching her professional music career in 2012. Dikeh’s knowledge of Nollywood makes her fit to speak at #NECLive5.
On another hand, Toyin Aimakhu is one of the most popular and experienced actresses in the industry. The actress has seamlessly made a transition into films being made for cinemas. 32-year-old Aimakhu began acting in 2003 and has been involved in almost 50 films. Abraham’s talent is undoubted with the actress recently creating a reality show, Keeping Up With Toyin Aimakhu.
Abraham and Dikeh join multiple award-winning Kemi Lala-Akindoju who will facilitate a session involving everything about theatre and film. Starting out as a stage performer, Lala-Akindoju has featured in some of the biggest films including Dazzling Mirage, Fifty and The CEO. Second most bankable Nigerian actress in 2016 (according to cinema figures) Adesua Etomi will discuss the importance of Nollywood in Africa and Europe. Other notable individuals who will be part of NECLive5 are Sola Fosudo and Kunle Idowu (Frank Donga). Fosudo is an actor, critic, dramatist, director and scholar who featured in 1994 classic, Glamour Girls. Idowu rose to fame through his hilarious interview skits from which he has gone on to feature in several Nollywood blockbusters including The Wedding Party.
Executive producer of The Wedding Party and media mogul, Mo Abudu made a speaking appearance at NECLive3 in 2015.