With only a few days to the end of women’s history month, Phylix’s Blog celebrates Nigerian women making giant strides in film business across West Africa.

Ever wondered how international films screen in Nigerian cinemas? Perhaps the idea has crossed your mind a few times that there certainly are middle men in charge of the tedious business of acquiring rights and marketing both international and local content .

The marketing phase post film production is vital and makes for what’s described as the film business which requires two key players- distributors in charge of marketing and exhibitors who bring the content to its consumers.

In Nigeria, there are barely a handful of film distribution companies and over a quarter of them interestingly have women at their helm of affairs .

In no particular order, here is a list of Nigeria’s leading women in film business.

Mary Ephraim- President, Homelands Films.

Homelands films is Nigeria’s first independent film distribution company and its president, Mary Ephraim has earned her place as a cinema pioneer in West Africa with over 15 years experience in the film distribution and exhibition business.

Ephraim’s career kicked off as the West African manager of Nu Metro, a South African owned Entertainment company with cineplexes across South Africa and credited for resurrecting cinema in Nigeria in 2004.

The cineaste was immensely involved in making licencing deals with top Hollywood studios including 21 Century Fox and Warner Bros.

In 2008, she joined Kene Mkparu (former CEO Filmhouse ) in starting the Genesis Deluxe Cinema and in 2010, Ephraim set up Homelands Films, the first independent film distribution company in Nigeria.

Mo Abudu- Founder/ CEO Ebony Life

Mo Abudu rarely needs an introduction in the Nigerian media space. However, as a film exhibitor, her strides are still taking baby steps. At the beginning of the year, Abudu launched the Ebonylife cinemas, a bold step from film production.

Funmilayo Onuma- Country Manager, Silverbird Cinemas, Ghana.

Ghanaian cinephiles have Funmilayo Onuma to thank for the development of Ghanaian cinema in recent times.

Until a few years ago, cinemas in Ghana barely made enough profit to keep its structures standing despite being one of the first countries to see the rebirth of cinema in West Africa.

Out of luck on how to revive its Ghanaian cinemas, the Silverbird group sought the intervention of Onuma with nearly a decade experience in providing solutions across industries ranging from construction to food.

In the last 6 years, Ghanaian exhibitors have experienced a surge in box office figures and, Onuma’s creative strategies are lauded for these recorded successes.

Joy Efe Odiete- MD/ CEO Blue Pictures Entertainment

Joy Efe Odiete heads one of the fasting growing film distribution companies in Nigeria with far-reaching arms in East and West Africa. Blue Pictures Entertainment was behind the distribution of some of 2018 and 2019 high grossing Hollywood movies including ‘The Lion King’ live-action and ‘Black Panther’.

Odiete’s success was, however, no overnight deal. The avid film lover was heavily influenced by a Hollywood, Bollywood and Nollywood background.

In 2005, she joined Nu Metro in Nigeria as an Intern and subsequently worked her way to first heading the exhibition arm of the business before going on to explore its distribution arm.

Shortly after Nu Metro packed up in 2009, Odiete worked closely with Senator Ben Murray Bruceand the Silverbird group and in 2011, she established Blue Pictures Entertainment.