Tunde Kelani: A Legend of Nigerian Cinema Turns 76

Tunde Kelani, one of Nigeria’s most celebrated and influential filmmakers, is marking his 76th birthday today, February 26, 2024. Kelani, who is the founder and CEO of Mainframe Films and Television Productions, has been making movies for over three decades, producing a wide range of films that document, archive, educate, entertain, and promote the Nigerian culture.

Kelani’s films are known for their artistic excellence, social relevance, and cultural diversity. He has adapted several literary works into movies, such as Ti Oluwa Nile, Oleku, Thunderbolt, and Dazzling Mirage, based on novels by Adebayo Faleti, Ola Rotimi, Akinwumi Isola, and Yinka Egbokhare, respectively. He has also produced the first fully computer-animated television series in Africa, ReBoot, which aired from 1994 to 2001.

Kelani’s films have earned him numerous awards and accolades, both locally and internationally. He has won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Director twice, for Arugba in 2010 and Ayinla in 2021. He has also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Africa International Film Festival in 2014, and the Industry Merit Award from the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards in 2018. He has been honored with the national title of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2014, and the honorary doctorate degree from the University of Lagos in 2019.

Kelani is not only a filmmaker, but also a mentor, a teacher, and a leader. He has trained and inspired many young and aspiring filmmakers, actors, and technicians, through his workshops, masterclasses, and seminars. He has also collaborated with various institutions, organizations, and agencies, such as the British Council, the Goethe-Institut, the Ford Foundation, and the United Nations, to promote film education, cultural exchange, and social development.

Kelani is currently working on his latest project, Sidi Ilujinle, a film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, which is expected to be released later this year. He is also continuing his Mobile Cinema Project, which aims to take information and entertainment to the grassroots, especially in rural and underserved areas.

Kelani’s fans, colleagues, and admirers have taken to social media to wish him a happy birthday and to celebrate his legacy and impact on the Nigerian film industry and culture. Some of his films are also being screened at various cinemas and platforms, as part of the birthday tribute.

Tunde Kelani is a legend of Nigerian cinema, who has contributed immensely to the growth and development of the film industry and the nation. He is a source of pride and inspiration for many Nigerians, especially those who love and appreciate the art and culture of filmmaking. We wish him a happy birthday and many more years of creativity and excellence.