top of page

AFRIFF Jury Profiles

Stephen Love

Stephen 'Dr' Love

Love is an award-winning producer and trailblazer in film and advertising. A country boy with city hustle, Stephen Love's  journey began as a four-year-old salesman on his grandfather's  peach farm in rural South Carolina. As a graduate of Morehouse College and USC's Peter Stark Producing Program, Love's entertainment career launched after producing THE LAND, directed by Steven Caple Jr. (CREED 2, TRANSFORMERS). Last fall, he wrapped production on Shadow

Force, the action-thriller film starring Kerry Washington and Omar Sy. Love’s projects

ASSISTED LIVING with Paramount and NOTES FROM A YOUNG BLACK CHEF with A24 earned him a coveted spot on The Hollywood Reporter' s highly coveted list of 35 Under 35. This summer’s release of the highly anticipated sci-fi comedy THEY CLONED TYRONE produced by Love and starring Jamie Foxx, Teyonah Parris and John Boyega ranked Top 10 in 56 countries on Netflix.


Between films, Stephen produced award-winning advertising campaigns such as AdAge Campaign of the Year with Boost Mobile’s Boost Your Voice and Cannes Lions Film Grand Prix-winner P&G’s “The Talk,” which was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial. “The Talk” sparked praise across consumers and the advertising community on the importance of inclusion and authenticity. Shortly after being awarded the Emmy, Love co-founded The Invisible Collective to empower diverse directors in the advertising industry.

Stephen resides in Los Angeles with his phenomenal wife Mekala.


Abby Ajayi

Born and raised in London, Abby Ajayi graduated from Oxford University with a law degree. She began her career working in script development at the BBC before turning to writing. In the UK, she has written episodes of series including: EASTENDERS, CASUALTY and HOLLYOAKS. Abby was a Fulbright Scholar and studied screenwriting in New York. In the US, Abby has worked as a writer-producer on shows including: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER (ABC/ Shondaland), THE FIRST LADY (Showtime) and FOUR WEDDINGS & A FUNERAL (Hulu/ MGM). Abby was Emmy-nominated for her work on INVENTING ANNA (Netflix/ Shondaland). In 2022, Abby created, wrote and directed RICHES for ITV/ Amazon Prime Video.


Greg Odutayo

Greg Odutayo is a TV & Film Director and entrepreneur of over 25 years. A highly effective communicator and team leader, consultant and training facilitator with proven ability to build long-term relationships with internal and external customers.


A graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan and an Executive Education Certificate from the OWNER – MANAGER PROGRAMME 11 of the Lagos Business School/Pan African University. Greg also has a Doctorate in Media & Communication (honoris causa) fro Myles Leadership University. A fellow of theatre arts (fta) and former National President of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Greg is currently the Group Managing Director of Royal Roots Nigeria comprising - Royal Roots Television (R2TV), R2 92.9FM Ibadan, R2 107.1FM Lagos, Royal Roots Cinemas, Royal Roots Entertainment and a host of others.


Royal Roots Nigeria is one of Nigeria’s top content creation, production, distribution & exhibition companies. Greg is highly organized, detailed and focused with an exceptional track record of leadership and accountability.


Greg who is a worthy Ambassador (WAUI) of the University of Ibadan, is a consummate artiste and passionate Nigerian. Greg is married to another icon in the Creative Industry Deborah Odutayo and the marriage is blessed with 3 boys.


Tsitsi Dangaremgba

Tsitsi Dangarembga is a writer and filmmaker whose work centers the African experience, with a focus on Zimbabwe. Her 2020 Booker Prize–shortlisted novel This Mournable Body (Faber & Faber, 2020) completes her Tambudzai Trilogy, which traces the life of a rural girl from her childhood in colonial Zimbabwe to her adulthood in a country repressed by political elites. Dangarembga lives and works in Zimbabwe, where she is the founding director of the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa (ICAPA) Trust.

Interrogating the ongoing repression and oppression in her home country—which includes torture, abduction, rampant corruption, and vote manipulation in a nation of largely immiserated, acquiescent citizens—Dangarembga’s research explores answers to the question, “What kind of people behave like that?” This question applies not only to power elites but also to enablers of systematic national oppression and to those who allow themselves to be oppressed. Her work is premised on the assumption that when a given population generates people who wield power destructively on an ongoing basis, the source of this tendency lies within the construct of that population.

An alumna of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, Dangarembga was a writer in residence at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study in 2021. She won the PEN Award for Freedom of Expression, the PEN Pinter Prize, and the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2021 and a Donald Windham-Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prize in 2022  and  the Africa Freedom Prize in South Africa in 2023 .

WhatsApp Image 2023-10-20 at 10.15_edited.jpg

Wafa'a Céline Halawi

Wafa’a is a Lebanese/French actress, writer and filmmaker. Having moved a lot in her childhood, she starts acting at age 5 and falls in love with theatre, where she finds a home.


In Lebanon, she joins the dance-theatre company Maqamat in 2001 and performs internationally. She also gets cast to act in Khalil Gibran’s play The Blind and various series by Elie Adabachi and Marwan Najjar.

In parallel, she gets a B.A. in Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University in Beirut then pursues her Masters in Film at University College in London, and a Filmmaking diploma at the New York Film Academy while directing narrative shorts and dance films that screened in various festivals around the world.


She also develops the feature fiction script Cello that wins international screenwriting prizes.
Wafa’a just completed filming in the Amazon, where she played the lead role in Brazilian director Marcelo Gomes’ new feature film.

Shortly before that, she performed in Lebanese feature films: Morine (Tony Farjallah), A Petty Bourgeois Dream (Mazen Khaled), In the Name of Tomorrow (Celine Abiad), as well as in the German/Lebanese co-production Lilacs (avant-premiere at Berlin Film Festival). She was also cast the in the pan-Arab MBC series Aroos Beirut, as well as Karma (MTV).

In addition to teaching film at LAU from 2008 to 2018, Wafa’a is also the director of the Lebanese Film Festival since 2015.


Geneva Wasserman

Geneva is a respected leader in entertainment and technology with experience spanning over 20 years in roles including: intellectual property licensing attorney, business and legal affairs, business development, creative development, technology development, marketing and all aspects of film and television production and distribution.


She holds a B.A. with honors from the University of California, San Diego and a J.D. with honors from Hastings College of the Law. Professional Experience Representative and Notable Examples Geneva’s career started in the intellectual property & entertainment practice group of the international law firm of Gray, Cary, Ware & Freidenrich in 1997 (now DLA Piper) assisting and advising such clients as The Walt Disney Company,


Twentieth Century Fox, Sony, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and Warner Bros. It was at Gray Cary that Geneva learned that success is founded in commitment, hard-work, integrity, and the establishment and maintenance of long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. As an animation professional at Project Z Entertainment,


President of a film finance company (Whitener Entertainment), President of a film and television production company (WV Enterprises) (Charming, Gnome Alone, Trouble, Douglas Family Gold, Muertoons), Director of a global media company (Invision by The Associated Press, an entertainment media company partnered with the Associated Press) where Geneva managed sales and marketing teams, business development efforts and global marketing campaigns,


Founder and Director of an entertainment Digital Media Company (Zed1 Group, (formerly 360 AdSpots/MomentumXR) and a film and television producer, Geneva continually taps into her global network and draws upon her past legal, production, marketing, technology and business experience to develop, grow and commercially exploit 4 quadrant film and television properties. Geneva has established meaningful associations with studios, talent agencies, managers, networks, film funds, sales agencies, law firms, distributors, broadcasters, record labels, music publishers, film commissions, film festivals, and production companies in all corners of the globe.


She possesses deep and unique industry knowledge and perspective having worked in all phases of development, production, marketing, distribution and ancillary exploitation of television and film properties.


Ranada Shepard

RANADA SHEPARD is a writer and producer for television. After being born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, Ranada left her hometown to attend the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She later found her passion for writing upon moving to Los Angeles, where she held many positions in the entertainment industry.

Ranada is currently the Showrunner/Executive Producer of the animated reboot of Norman Lear’s Good Times, which will soon make its splash debut on Netflix.

She has written and Executive Produced various shows which include TV One’s series, Born Again Virgin, which she also created. After her two-season run on Born Again Virgin, Ranada went on to serve in the Co-Executive Producer capacity on several series: Disney+’s Lizzie McGuire, Diary of A Future President, as well as on NBC’s comedy series, Connecting.


Ranada’s credits include her work as the Showrunner/Executive Producer of the HBO Max animated series, Young Love, based on the Oscar Award-winning short, Hair Love. She also contributed as the Co-Executive Producer of Act Your Age, the first sitcom of its kind for Scripps.


Outside of work, Ranada is involved as a board member of Black School, which helps Black kids to celebrate their identity, culture, and voice, while attending predominately white institutions. As the proud daughter of Cuban refugee parents, as well as a first-generation American she mentors young Afro-Latino creatives in hopes of helping them take up space and share their stories in the entertainment industry. Looking to give back as an adoptee, Ranada has spent years volunteering at Valley Trauma Center, where she has supported foster kids with accepting and transitioning into adopted families.


Ranada is married to fellow television writer and producer, Devon Shepard, her husband of 18 years. Ranada and Devon reside in the San Fernando Valley where they have raised their three sons, Kadin, DJ, and Cameron.


Kate Henshaw

Multi award-winning actress, philanthropist, mother, and global speaker; Kate Henshaw is a multi-talented public figure from Nigeria.

Her recent honour as Ambassador for the Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care, role in revered political thriller 4th Republic (which premièred at the United States Institute of Peace, Washington DC - November, 2019), and appointment as judge on America’s CBS talent show The World’s Best, has earned her a growing international fan base.

Since rising to fame in 1993 as the lead role in When the Sun Sets, Kate has carved out a career as one of the country’s leading ‘Nollywood’ talents. Holding various goodwill ambassadorial roles, she is also recognised as one of the modern voices of Africa. She is regularly invited to attend high-profile events, collaborate with brands, and has even hosted a Ted Talk.  

Born in Calabar Cross Rivers State in Nigeria, Kate majored in Medical Microbiology at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, and worked at the Bauchi State General Hospital, prior to her foray into acting. It was this experience that grew her interest in humanitarian work – something she maintains to this day.

Best known as an actress, her film career spans over 27 years, with over 350 titles in her repertoire. These include hits; A Million Tears, The Women, and The Ghost and the House of Truth, where she won ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ at African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in 2019 as well as New Money and Chief Daddy, both available on Netflix.

Most notably in 2008, she received an award for ‘Best Actress in a Leading Role’ – Stronger than Pain by the revered African Movie Academy Awards.

Her relatable style has also landed her TV sitcom roles in shows such as; DoGood and Doctor’s Quarters on DSTV platform. She was featured in the documentary My Nigeria (Al Jazeera, August 2015), and featured as a judge on a popular entertainment show Nigeria’s Got Talent.


Desmond Elliott

HON. DESMOND OLUSHOLA ELLIOTT is an Economist, Actor, Filmmaker and Politician, and a Nigerian film star who has used his gift of acting to project Nigeria well to the outside world. He is one of the country’s top filmmakers who raised the bar of acting and brought a major reform into the film industry through the revival of the cinema culture and the bulk office production.


He is currently the legislator representing the good people of Surulere constituency 01 in Lagos State House of Assembly, and also the Chairman House Committee on Ministry/Parastatals 2019-2023. He was recently appointed the Chairman House Committee on Works and Infrastructure by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Ajayi Obasa.

DESMOND ELLIOTT is a friendly, humble and honest personality who loves to respect people’s feelings and aspirations. He will always encourage people around him to develop their dreams ostensibly because he himself once revealed he was influenced to become an actor by a friend.

The self-proclaimed Pan African was born on 4 th February 1975 to a Yoruba father (from Olowogbowo Lagos) and an Igbo mother (from Ilah in Delta state). He obtained a degree in economics from the Lagos State University (LASU) in 2004. He has also bagged himself two (2) Masters Degree in Legislative Studies: National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studie, University of Benin and Masters Degree in Business Administration: National Open University of Nigeria respectively and a Doctorate in Legislative Studies (in view).


He has starred in over 200 films and he is today one of the country’s top film-makers. He is a jolly fellow in the Assembly because he relates well with his colleagues who respect him. He is also the darling of the people of his constituency who see in him a trustworthy and dependable friend. He is a delectable ambassador of good will both for the youth and all.


He is married to Mrs. Victoria Elliott and the union is blessed with four adorable children.

WhatsApp Image 2023-10-27 at 02.57.44_ed30e21e.jpg

Nicholas Weinstock

Nicky Weinstock is the founder and president of Invention Studios, an independent creative production company developing a wide range of features and television series for both major American and international platforms. Weinstock began his career in New York City as an editor at Random House and Riverhead Books, and then as the author of a nonfiction book and two novels, before moving to Los Angeles to develop series at 20th Century Fox Television.


He went on to run Apatow Productions with writer/director Judd Apatow, where he produced movies including Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Step Brothers, Pineapple Express, Get Him to the Greek and Bridesmaids. He then helped launch the production company Chernin Entertainment alongside Peter Chernin; and for the past six years was partnered with actor/director Ben Stiller and served as the creative head of their company Red Hour Films. In 2022 he launched his own company, Invention Studios – powered by a first-look financing deal with Fremantle on the television side and a robust slate of theatrical, streaming and independent features on the movie side.

Most recently Weinstock developed and produced the Showtime limited series Escape at Dannemora, which was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards; the hit series In the Dark, which ran for four seasons on Netflix; the movies Alex Strangelove, The Package, Plus One and Queenpins; and the Emmy Award-winning Apple+ series Severance, which he continues to Executive Produce.


Weinstock is also the founder of Craft Services, an online support system for new screenwriters and emerging directors around the world. With more than 300 members in more than 20 countries – including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, England, Italy, Germany, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Burundi and beyond – Craft Services provides a revolutionary on-ramp to the global entertainment business regardless of geography, economics, or previous connections or experience.


Weinstock’s company, Invention Studios, is currently producing movies and series with Fremantle, Paramount, HBO Max, CBS Studios, Endeavor Content, Amazon, Amblin, Apple+, Film One in Nigeria, and other studios and networks across the globe. Staffed by creative executives from Uganda, India and Romania as well as New York and Ohio, the company is devoted to groundbreaking projects and bold storytelling that represents the widest and deepest possible human experience.


Busola Tejumola

Dr. Busola Tejumola is a seasoned content strategist and visionary, whose career spans over 17 years in different roles across the Media and IT industries especially tailored towards customer and media relations, information technology systems, consumer insights, content production and strategy. An award-winning champion driving the narrative and distribution of authentic African  tories, Busola serves as the Executive Head of Content and West Africa Channels for Multichoice, Africa’s leading entertainment company and one of the fastest growing pay-tv operators globally with a total subscriber base of over 20 million viewers throughout Africa. She does this by steering the course of Seven (7) Africa Magic channels in Nigeria and Two (2) Akwaaba Magic channels in Ghana on DStv, a major satellite television service in Sub-Saharan Africa and GOtv, a partner terrestrial service platform of Multichoice with a focus on local content.


Recognized in 2021 as one of 100 Most Influential People of African Descent in the world (MIPAD) for her role championing Media and Culture in Africa, Busola drives the development and execution of the content strategy for West Africa, identifying gaps and areas of opportunities in the creative industries as well as sourcing and delivering strong and relevant local content programming across linear channels, video-on-demand, subscription, and Mobile platforms. An astute professional, Dr Tejumola who holds a PhD in Management Information Systems and Computing from Brunel University and a Master’s degree in management information systems from the university of Surrey has led the MultiChoice team on the successful and multi-award-winning delivery of editions of the localized reality show – Big Brother, Naija which has increased subscriber growth, ad revenue , audience share and drives year-of-year business growth in other markets of the MultiChoice Group across Africa.

For Busola, developing new content revenue streams that continue to deliver superlative value is a key passion expressed in her work and showcased in real time by the successful development and execution of the spectacular 8th edition of the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCAs). This 8-day cross industry event was recognised as one of Africa’s biggest awards shows by CNN’s Africa Avant Garde, a series showcasing African innovators working across the continent’s art, design, art, design, music, film and fashion.


Recognized by Forbes Afrique as one of the Top 50 Women in Management across Africa, Busola is a seasoned people and organizational leader, building high performing teams across regions to deliver on business profitability consistently and sustainably by relying on data and leveraging deep local understanding to grow content-led customer value management. When she is not telling authentic African Stories, Busola serves on the advisory boards of multiple successful start-ups. She is extremely passionate about developing educating the African child with a special leaning towards mentoring younger African ladies by building their confidence and capacity to impact society and pursuing rewarding careers. She also invests in other women through the Multichoice Women’s forum, a platform that prepares women for leadership and executive positions through mentorship, deep learning, secondments, and sponsorships.

bottom of page