On late award-winning Nigerian writer, director, entrepreneur, and producer Amaka Igwe’s 57th posthumous birthday, Google honours her memory with a doodle.
“I will give you all I have, so you can add it to what you have and be better than me.”
– Amaka Igwe
Nigerian-raised, Brooklyn-based artist Data Oruwari illustrated today’s Doodle of Amaka Igwe. Igwe helped transform the Nigerian film industry and built a media empire from the ground up.
Uzoamaka Audrey Igwe was born on this day in 1963 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria. At an early age, Amaka showed deep interest in the performing arts. She organised her school’s variety shows and taught performance dance. She also wrote, acted, and directed plays.
During her postgraduate studies, Igwe started focusing on theatre and what she considered to be her first gift: writing. She developed her first television series screenplay, “Checkmate”. It was widely considered the best Nigerian soap opera of the 1990s.
This led to her directorial debut in the feature film “Rattlesnake’ (1995 for Crystal Gold Limited), a smash hit in her home country. It preceded by films like “Violated” (1995 for Crystal Gold Limited) and “A Barber’s Wisdom” (2001 for Mnet), which helped set a higher production standard for “Nollywood” at the time. She wrote and directed the phenomenally successful “Fuji House of Commotion” (2001-2012 for Crystal Gold Limited), which gave her dominance of the national television series industry.
Passionate about growing the local industry, Igwe also helped organize the guild system that served the executive boards of the Association of Movie Producers, and was also a patron of the National Association of Cinematographers, the Screenwriters Guild and the Guild of Movie Editors.
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As a champion of efficient local distribution as the basis for Nollywood’s growth, Igwe and her business partner also organised an enhanced market distribution system. In addition, they helped improve quality and fairness in the industry.
On an international level, Igwe led delegations to South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and France, among other countries, to present the unique Nigerian approach to visual storytelling, propagating global awareness of Nollywood.
She also co-founded the African Film and Media Content Expo, entitled BOBTV, with Big Picture Limited, with the aim of providing a global platform for Nigeria’s creative industries. For 11 years, they presented BOBTV to the world, engaging more than 400 departments from 104 Nigerian universities, as well as the Motion Picture Industry Practitioners and the Nigeria Government through its agencies.
Cementing herself as a matriarch of Nollywood, Igwe evolved a media empire by co-founding a production company, radio station, and TV network. Amaka Igwe shall be remembered as a gifted storyteller, producer, director, pioneer of Nollywood, wife, and mother of three.
2011 saw her announced as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR). The award honours Nigerians who made significant contributions to the nation.
Here’s to Amaka Igwe, a true pioneer of Nigerian entertainment.
Take a look at the early concepts and sketches of Amaka Igwe’s Google Doodle HERE. You can also read Data Oruwari’s thoughts behind the making of this Doodle. She hopes everyone who sees this Doodle will get inspiration to dream big and be daring enough to challenge the status quo.
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