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Tunde Kelani – Biography Of An Internationally Acclaimed Movie Producer.

Tunde Kelani

Tunde Kelani popularly known as TK is an internationally acclaimed filmmaker, an ace storyteller, director, photographer, cinematographer, and a movie producer. He is an advocate of Nigerian cultural heritage. So, his movies not only promote but also educate viewers about Nigeria’s culture. He is also known for turning literary materials into movies.

See Also: Biography and entrepreneurial life of Mo Abudu.

Tunde Kelani
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Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

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Tunde Kelani Background.

Tunde Kelani, TK was born on the 26th of February 1948. He was born in Lagos but was sent to live with his grandparents in Abeokuta at age 5. His grandfather was the ‘Balogun of Ijaiye Kukudi’. So, he had firsthand access to Yoruba culture, literature, philosophy and world view of arts. He attended the Oke-Ona Primary School Ikija, Abeokuta, then the Abeokuta Grammar school for his secondary education.

He developed an interest in photography while in primary school. Therefore, all through secondary school, he invested his time and money into learning photography. After secondary school, he worked as an apprentice for a photographer so he could learn more and master the craft.

Tunde Kelani then went to train as a cameraman at the former Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) for almost 4years. After his training, he travelled to London where he attended the London Film School for a 2-year course on the arts and techniques of film making. He is married and blessed with three children.

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Tunde Kelani Early Career.

While at the London Film School, Tunde Kelani worked as a correspondent for BBC TV and Reuters. At Reuters, he covered the drought at Ethiopia and also the independence of Zimbabwe. On concluding his course at the London Film School, he came back to Nigeria and co-produced his first movie, ‘The Dilemma of Reverend Father Micheal’ with Adebayo Faleti.

He has worked as a cinematographer on most feature movies produced in Nigeria. Some of these movies are: Anikura, Ogun Ajaye, Iya Ni Wura, Taxi Driver, Iwa and Fopomoyo. In 1990, he was the assistant director and also acted in the first American movie to be shot in Nigeria titled ‘Mister Johnson’. The film is an adaptation of the 1939 novel by Joyce Cary.

Tunde Kelani

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Mainframe Film and Television Productions.

Tunde Kelani, TK established Mainframe Productions in 1992 to promote the Nigerian culture and beliefs through high-quality movies. It is a film and television production company based in Lagos. TK does not just want to provide technical support for other production companies, he truly wants to produce quality movies that will serve as a standard to other production companies. That is why he founded Mainframe Productions. Thus far, Mainframe Film and Television Productions have produced classic features, documentaries, short films, TV programmes and commercials.

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Movies of Mainframe Film and Television Productions.

  • Arambada (TV Show)
  • Tunmigbe (TV Show) Feature
  • Ti Oluwa Ni Ile (Feature) – 1993
  • (Feature) Ti Oluwa Ni Ile 2 – 1993
  • Ti Oluwa Ni Ile 3 (Feature) – 1993
  • Ayo Ni Mo Fe (Feature) – 1994
  • Ayo Ni Mo Fe 2 (Feature) – 1994
  • Kòseégbé (Feature) – 1995
  • O Le Ku 1 (Feature) – 1997
  • O Le Ku 2 (Feature) – 1997
  • Saworoide (Feature) – 1999
  • White Handkerchief (Short Film) – 2000
  • Thunderbolt: Magun (Feature) – 2001
  • Agogo Eèwò (Feature) – 2002
  • Abeni (Feature) – 2006
  • Abeni 2 (Feature) – 2006
  • The Narrow Path (Feature) – 2006
  • Life in Slow Motion (Short Film) – 2008
  • Arugba (Feature) – 2009
  • Maami (Feature) – 2010
  • Yeepa (Filmed Play) – 2014
  • Dazzling Mirage (Feature) – 2014
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days

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Mainframe Film and Media Institute.

Mainframe Film and Media Institute is designed to equip professionals and new entrants in the movie industry with the right theory and practical knowledge they need to be an ace in their career. The goal of the institute is to ensure there is an improvement in Nigeria’s socio-economic and cultural development. This, they do by providing young people and professionals with world-class film and media education so they can create meaningful contents.

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Tunde Kelani Quotes.

“The problem today is that our youths don’t want to learn or work without pay. That is why it will be very difficult for some of them to make the type of films we are making. If they only think about money, they won’t make a headway.”

“In spite of the ups and downs, I kept going. In some quarters, things didn’t go well, but it didn’t matter since what I was doing was and is still making me happy.”

“Appropriating technology in what you want to do, with the very limited resources available to you is exciting.”

“African women are not just housewives, they work. They are energetic and enterprising and we are proud of them…”

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Tunde Kelani Awards and Recognitions.

  • Recipient of the prestigious ‘Africa Reel Award’ at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF), California, USA in 2012.
  • NMA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.
  • Member of Emmy Awards International Jury in 2015.
  • Angenieux Award (Prix du Public) at Nollywood week 2015.
  • African Magic Viewer’s Choice (AMVCA) Industry Merit Award in 2018.
  • Ecran d’Honneur award at the 22nd edition of the Ecrans Noirs Film Festival in July 2018.
  • Elected to vote in the Directors Category of the Board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences also known as ‘The Oscars’ in 2019.
  • Leopold Sedar Senghor Prize for African Cultural Creativity and Impact in 2019.

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Photo credit: guardian.ng, @tkelani (Instagram)



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