Kunle Afolayan is a heavily decorated actor, producer, and director whose works extend beyond the entertainment focus of a movie, fitting more into the description of film-making. He has proven his worth in contributions and the level of attention and investment he has attracted to Nollywood.
Afolayan is widely credited for elevating the quality of Nollywood movies through larger budgets, shooting on 35mm, releasing in cinemas, and improving cliché Nollywood storylines.
Afolayan is of Igbomina-Yoruba descent, from Kwara State. He is the son of the theatre and film director Adeyemi Josiah Afolayan better known as Ade Love. He majored in economics and started out working in a bank while doing some casual acting, before deciding to move into full-time filmmaking and taking a course at the New York Film Academy.
After starting his film career as an actor in the 1999 political drama Saworoide, Afolayan made his directorial debut in 2006 with Irapada, a Nigerian supernatural thriller, which won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Film in an African Language. His follow-on directing credits include The Figurine, Phone Swap, October 1, and Citation. October 1 was the winner of 16 major African movie awards in 2015 and the second highest grossing Nigerian film in Nigerian cinemas at the time of its release, a feat Afolayan was to repeat two years later with The CEO.
In 2021, the director signed a three-picture deal with Netflix. Swallow, the screen adaption of Sefi Atta’s book of the same name was the first to be released in October 2021, followed by Aníkúlápó, an epic Nigerian fantasy released in September 2022. Afolayan has described the work as a “Game of Thrones recreated in Nigeria but with a better representation of our culture” Eleven days after its release, it was the #1 most-watched non-English Netflix original film.
Afolayan appeared at the Subversive Film Festival in 2011 where he represented the Nigerian film industry with his colleague Zeb Ejiro.
He has made several films such as Irapada(Redemption), The Figurine(Araromire), PhoneSwap, The CEO, Omugwo, October 1, Mokalik, Citation and Swallow. He is the owner and founder of Golden Effect Pictures; in film equipment & rentals, and film consulting company and KapHub which embodies Kap Film and Television Academy, Kap Television, Kap Cinema, Kap Motion Pictures; involved in film production, Afefeyeye Restaurant & Bar and Ire Clothings.
Kunle Afolayan struck a deal with Netflix in 2021 to make three original films with the first being “Swallow”, which is a screen adaptation of Sefi Atta’s book with the same title.