AFRIFF Masterclasses Hosts
Obi Emelonye is a passionate UK/Nigerian writer, director, producer and academic with a multi-disciplinary approach to filmmaking. He is a member of the premier guild of UK film
directors- Directors UK, as well as a member of the British Film Institute and a Fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants.
Obi has brought his pragmatism and adroitness as a lawyer into the chaotic world of film productions and his exploits today bear testimony to his broad experience.
Since early the 2000s this visionary British-based Nigerian has quickly gained an enviable reputation as one of the brightest creative minds working within Nigeria's burgeoning film industry commonly known as
Over the last few years, his relentless drive and sense of cinematic style has marked him out as a global pioneer for a bold, commercial cinematic identity for Africa.
In addition to his status as a working film director, Obi is presently the head of module and lecturer in filmmaking at the University of Huddersfield, UK.
Jeremy Zimmermann is one of the UK’s leading casting directors and has worked on international productions for the past twenty years with such notable directors as Peter Yates, Ron Howard, Guillermo del Toro, and Richard Attenborough. He was nominated for an Emmy in 1995 for Outstanding Individual Achievement for the casting Joseph, a television movie.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
The Three Musketeers
Dungeons & Dragons
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace
The Night Train to Lisbon
Son of the Pink Panther
Licensed Drone Pilot
Coach, and Consultant
Eno Umoh is an FAA-licensed drone pilot and the co-founder of Global Air Media (GAM), a drone training and consultation company headquartered in Baltimore, USA.
Eno is passionate about helping drone pilots take advantage of the many business opportunities in this emerging industry. Eno has coached hundreds of startups and existing businesses on the fundamentals of building and successful drone business.
Eno has delivered drone technology workshops in partnership with the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Mission in Nigeria, Zambia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkmenistan.
To date he has provided training to more than 9,000 students in 600+ schools and in 13 countries.
Shawn is a phenomenal talent, and has distinguished himself in the entertainment industry by repeatedly churning out remarkable work on screen and stage, in directing and as well as producing.
Shawn began his acting career in 2010, and has since then built a track record of award-winning bodies of work. He is a perfect blend of talent, professionalism, and character.
In 2012, he obtained a Certificate in Acting from the Nollywood Upgrade Training in affiliation with the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University. He went on to attend the Relativity Education Workshops, where he was trained as an actor (Certificate in Acting for Camera) at the Relativity School (Studio Institute Global) in Los Angeles, California in 2016. He has featured in several great film projects - 'Living in Bondage', 'Breaking Free', 'Ojukokoro', 'La Femme Anjola', 'In Line', 'Three Thieves', 'Lagos Cougars', 'Before Valentine', 'SOÓLÈ’, 'The Blood Covenant', 'Man Of God' to mention but a few.
His one-of-a-kind acting prowess has earned him several awards and nominations with his most recent being for the 2022 Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Awards for Best Actor in a Comedy.
Shawn is also a trained Electrical/Electronics Engineer and is constantly supporting and advancing research work into better ways of fusing tech with the arts/entertainment industry in order to equip and empower the creative ecosystem of Africa for the future.
He is honoured to have worked with a rich and intellectual pool of Africa's best and finest in the media and entertainment industry.
He intends to engage in more collaborative work with great artistic and creative minds within and outside Africa, knowing that the future of the industry lies in collaborations.
Uly is an artist, entrepreneur and a disruptive innovator who consistently pushes the limits to create alternative and effective solutions. He has a degree in Creative Art from University of Lagos and is the Business Lead for Exis Innovation in Africa.
In 2016, he became an Impact Scholar of Singularity University for helping Africa’s creative industries reach a global audience by leveraging cutting-edge technologies like NFT, AI and Hyperspectral Imaging.
Uly is also a co-founder of African Art Archive. A platform at the intersection of art and technology, designed to provide simple solutions to art education, culture preservation, business/career growth, and better communication.
Victor is a Product Designer with an aptitude for discovering and envisioning how (new) technologies can be applied to solve real life problems.
He is working with a team of brilliant Pan African techpreneurs to help reduce financial friction, and expand financial inclusion in emerging economies starting with Africa, leveraging exponential technologies, like Blockchain (Distributed Ledger Technologies).
Victor is part of the Bantu Blockchain Foundation who have gone live with a robust blockchain infrastructure that financial institutions in emerging economies can leverage to build more inclusive products and services, while also helping to unlock liquidity trapped in natural resources usually abundant in these economies.
Previously, Victor led the Tax Technology and Innovation operating unit for PwC Nigeria where he and his team created a best in class digital tax encyclopedia for Nigeria. (available for Windows PC, iOS and Android). Victor was responsible for designing or/and implementing other technology solutions for the firm and its clients.
Victor is an "artsy technology enthusiast" with a background in the sciences. He has an analytic mind and an aptitude for learning new things (e.g. languages, musical instruments, new technologies).
Victor has been involved in the Blockchain space since 2016 and has supported some African projects in the Blockchain space in an advisory capacity.
Tunde Babalola, is a scriptwriter in Nigerian cinema and British television series. He is most notable for the script writing of critically acclaimed movies such as Last Flight to Abuja, Critical Assignment, October 1 and Citation.
At the age of 14, he wrote his first film script In The Raw. After he returned to the United Kingdom, he joined with Channel 4 and wrote the play for sitcom series called In Exile. He later worked with several channels: BBC, Carlton Television and Chrysalis Television.
Babalola started as a writer with the TV serial The Bill. After the serial received fan popularity, he wrote the three TV serials in 1997: True to Life Player, Crime of a Lesser Passion and Armed and Dangerous. In 1998, he wrote the serial One Man, Two Faces. Later in 2002, he made maiden cinema appearance as an actor with the horror film Deep Freeze. He played the role as a helicopter pilot.
In 2014, he wrote the script of critically acclaimed blockbuster October 1, where he took four weeks to write the first draft of the film and three drafts only took about a week to complete. The script was initially submitted with the title Dust, mainly because the story is set in a very dusty town. Even though Afolayan didn't want to do big budget projects at the time, he knew he had no choice, as he wanted to interpret the writer's vision adequately because it is a "national film with a universal appeal".
He expressed that he liked the story of October 1 because it is a period piece, which he had never done before and "it is also significant to the present state of Nigeria". As a result, he decided to explore the film by adding his own ideas to the subsequent drafts of the script.
In 2015, he joined as the writer and producer of the comedy TV production Rib Busters: Comedy Show. In 2015, Babalola won the awards for the Best Comedy Writer for the film The meeting and Best Drama Writer for the film October 1 at Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards.
Creative Arts Specialist
Bridging Worlds Through Film and Arts.
Ronya is a Theatre and Screen trained Actress, Director and Producer, with schooling and background in Music as well.
Since 2003, Ronya functioned in many performing arts positions, acting, producing, writing, directing and more. Prior to, she worked in Environmental engineering designing &
identifying sustainable systems.
She is the founder and MD of RonManArts Ltd. Training & Production, company active in Nollywood and the Creative Arts in Nigeria since 2015.
She is the mother of two boys, a believer in realising dreams, in constant learning, that nothing is unachievable, and that we can always surpass ourselves.
With her Acting Masterclasses and Personal Coaching since 2010, she prepares actors for film and stage roles, auditions, acting schools, and works with extensively varied texts and types of actors, to identify and pair scripts with personality, script researching, teaching screen vs. stage,
and how to position oneself in the industry.
Ronya was also a director, assistant director & casting for House 5 Productions company 2016 - 2017.
She was commissioned by and for Africa Magic and Irokotv channels on DSTV of MultiChoice.
Directorial debut feature film “Timeless” (2016) for Nigeria's Irokotv. Her directorial debut Short film “Rise” (2018) officially selected by Lift-Off London film festival.
She is a co- producer for Realtime International Film festival (RTF) 2018-present. - Based in Lagos, Nigeria, RTF held yearly since 2016 and that focused on grooming filmmakers and tech innovations in film. At RTF Man works on forging platforms for international collaborations, co-productions, and training platforms, and fosters the festival’s strategic and financial partners, media partners and distribution. Part of those successes are Filmone Nigeria, a co-production MOU with Trinidad & Tobago Film Institute plus an MOU with the Storyagent platform. Mann also facilitated acting workshops at RTF, and supervised many of its activities.
Head of Fund, Red Sea Fund
Emad Eskandar is a Saudi storyteller and filmmaker. A marketing graduate from King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals and started his professional career as a creative conceptualizer in ad agencies.
He then gained valuable experience in multiple multinational companies such as Unilever and P&G. His passion for films in Saudi and the region prompted him to leave the corporate world for a more creative role in local up-and-coming film agencies.
In 2019, he founded his own conceptualizing and writing studio “Blue Bus Entertainment”, in his first year the studio was able to make huge strides in the local and regional film industry.
Ryan Kyle Coogler is an American director, producer and screenwriter. He is a recipient of four NAACP Image Awards, four Black Reel Awards and an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.
He made his feature-length debut with the independent film Fruitvale Station (2013), which won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award for U.S. dramatic film at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It also won at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, for Best First Film.
He has since co-written and directed films such as the Rocky series spinoff, Creed (2015), and the Marvel film Black Panther (2018), the latter of which broke numerous box office records and became the highest-grossing film of all time by an African American director. Coogler also co-wrote and directed its sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022).
In 2013, he was included on Time's list of the 30 people under 30 who are changing the world. In 2018, Coogler was named the runner-up of Time's Person of the Year and he was included in the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
In 2021, Coogler, his wife, Zinzi Coogler, and Sev Ohanian founded multimedia company Proximity Media to create event-driven content across various platforms.
Director of International Programming, Red Sea International Film Festival
Kaleem Aftab is the Director of International Programming for Red Sea IFF.
He is a distinguished film critic who has over 25 years of experience writing for newspapers, lifestyle and cinema publications and the most renowned trade magazines and websites.
He wrote an authorised biography of Spike Lee. He has previously programmed for the BFI, East End and Tromso. He is also a producer, known for movies like “This is What It Is” (2007), “The Imperialists Are Still Alive!” (2010) and “Love” (2008).
Nikyatu Jusu is an American independent writer, director, and assistant professor in film and video at George Mason University. Jusu's works center on the complexities of Black female characters and in particular, displaced, immigrant women in the United States.
Her work includes African Booty Scratcher(2008), Flowers (2015), Suicide By Sunlight (2019), and Nanny, which received the Grand Jury Prize at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.
Jusu was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to Sierra Leonean parents Hannah Khoury and Ronald Jusu. She attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina with the intention to become a biomedical engineer.
An unexpected meeting with a screenwriting professor introduced her to the world of film making and she changed her focus. Jusu graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film/Cinema/Video Studies in 2005.
She later studied narrative filmmaking at New York University's Tisch graduate film school and received a master of fine arts degree in Film/Cinema/Video Studies in 2011.
Latasha Gillespie is the Executive Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Amazon Studios. Her role is to build mechanisms to improve the diversity and inclusion of content, creatives and the ecosystem across Amazon Studios.
Latasha's scope is global, and she travels the world sharing inspirational messages of leadership and inclusion based on her 20+ years of experience. Prior to her current role, Latasha led the Global Diversity and Inclusion Organization across Amazon Corporate. She is credited for leading the creation of Amazon's first Conversations on Race and Ethnicity (CORE) conference.
Prior to Amazon, Latasha spent 20 years in Finance and Human Resources with Caterpillar Inc. She was also Caterpillar's Chief Diversity Officer prior to going overseas to be the head of HR for Africa, Middle East, CIS, Russia and Asia Pacific.
In 2019 Black Enterprise named her one of the Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity and Ebony Magazine honored on their 2018 Power 100 List.