Dr Busola Tejumola, Executive Head of Content and West Africa Channels at West Africa, MultiChoice, joined a panel of seasoned female film industry experts to discuss Women in Film: Community Over Competition at the 12th Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) on Wednesday, 8th November 2023 at Sol Beach, Lagos, Nigeria.
The 12th edition of AFRIFF has been graced by notable guests, including government officials, celebrities, and industry professionals. Some of the high-profile guests in attendance included the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; U.S. Consul General Will Stevens, and Nollywood stars Richard Mofe-Damijo, Kate Henshaw, Ayo Makun, Dakore Akande, Bovi, and Ini Edo, among others. The festival also saw the presence of renowned international figures in the film industry, such as Carl Rumbaugh, CEO of 23 Management Group; Alain Modot, CEO of DIFFA Distribution; and Gabe Converse, Creative Director of The Refinery, to name a few.
During the panel discussion which featured other industry heavyweights including Chioma Onyenwe, Founder, Raconteur Productions, Nigeria; Mary Njoku, Actress, Film Producer, and Founder, ROK TV; Chioma Ude, Founder, AFRIFF; Uche Jombo, Actress & Screenwriter; and Kem Anyanwu, CEO & Founder, Kemystry, Tejumola spoke about her 12-year journey at MultiChoice and how she started out in the research and insights unit as a Consumer Insight Manager, progressing to other roles in strategy, production and eventually becoming the Executive Head of Content and West Africa Channels at MultiChoice.
Adding her thoughts on female content consumption, she said, “It is important to note that data is power. Back then and even now, we still do not do anything without data. It is quite interesting to note that women do not conform to the stereotype of only watching romance dramas. According to our data, they enjoy a variety of genres including action, thrillers, sports, WWE, UFC, and even cartoons. We take pride in understanding our market and effectively targeting its diverse segments, offering something for everyone.”
Speaking on the portrayal of women in TV, she went on to say, “Reality TV is a reflection of real life with elements of truth. It is crucial for the industry to consider what narratives they want to promote, like the portrayal of female leaders and heroes, and start playing key roles in shaping the narratives viewers want to see on screen.”
Addressing the necessity of being intentional about building a community for women in film, she highlighted that “Individually, you can mentor many people, but it’s also crucial to find a mentor, coach and sponsor within any space you’re looking to grow in. A sponsor is someone who speaks on your behalf and opens doors for you, even in rooms you are not present in. Having a sponsor is the first step, and if you are able, it is also important to sponsor someone in return, taking an interest in their growth and providing opportunities when possible. Collaboration and building a supportive community are essential, focusing on elevating one another rather than competing. This community-over-competition approach helps create opportunities and connections.”
For more than two decades, MultiChoice has been committed to supporting women in various roles, including executive positions, directing, lead roles, producers, continuity editors, distribution, talent management and beyond. The MultiChoice family includes several noteworthy female-led works, such as the ongoing crime-thriller Slum King produced by Chichi Nworah, Showmax Nigeria’s first telenovela Wura starring Scarlet Gomez, Real Housewives of Lagos and Abuja, Indomie Love Bowl, Crime and Justice Lagos, Flawsome, Chronicles, Off Air with Gbemi and Toolz, among many others.
AFRIFF is an international film festival for African filmmakers that showcases the best cinematic works and narratives. The 12th edition of AFRIFF, with the theme Indigenous 2.0 Global, aims to promote exchanges of ideas, facilitate production collaborations, and forge business relationships that create value, build capacity and generate wealth. With its vast networks, AFRIFF is strategically positioned in the African film industry, making it the go-to platform for local and international film stakeholders seeking leadership in identifying sector-specific challenges and implementing interventions to promote insightful content creation.