24th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films

24th Annual Cascade Festival of African Films

Artist Biographies

Obi EmelonyeObi Emelonye




Obi Emelonye, is a passionate, self-taught writer, director and producer with a multi-disciplinary approach to filmmaking. He graduated from The University of Nigeria Nsukka with a BA (Hons) in Theatre Arts. He went on to study for an LLB Law degree from the University of Wolverhampton. He completed a Post Graduate Degree in Legal Practice from the London Metropolitan University and practiced law for a few years before focusing on his first love: films. He brings his pragmatism and adroitness as a lawyer into the chaotic world of productions and his exploits today bear testimony to his broad experience.

Although mostly known for his work in cinema, his working experience includes many years as head of production at BEN TV, the UK’s first African Caribbean satellite TV channel, where he led the production department to many award winning projects. His TV production work encompassed cutting edge magazine shows, current affairs and continuous drama shows. It was during his time at BEN TV that Obi established his production company The Nollywood Factory, a full service international entertainment production company with offices in the UK and Nigeria. In the last decade The Nollywood Factory has extensive experience in film, television, music promo and stage productions and includes marketing services like commercials and corporate productions amongst its portfolio of work.

Obi has written, directed and produced five feature length digital films, all receiving positive critical review and a number of awards. In 2004, his film, Echoes of War launched the now common notion of premiering Nollywood films at UK cinemas just prior to their DVD release. His award winning family adventure film The Mirror Boy has also set a new standard in African international cinema, breaking box-office records wherever it has been shown and bringing new Nigerian cinema to the attention of the global cinema industry.

Obi has secured international distribution for most of his films and set himself apart as an international commercial filmmaker. He is recognized by the international movie business as a leading light within African Diaspora cinema and is gaining increased attention as a visionary filmmaker with a distinct voice. Obi is packaging his first multi-million dollar project, a powerful romantic suspense thriller set in the heady world of Nigerian presidential politics and set to star a major international talent. Fast paced dark & visually stylish the film has a touch of film noir and presents the genre in a hip contemporary African light.

Apolline TraoréApolline Traoré

Director of MOI ZAPHIRA!



Apolline Traoré was born in 1976 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.  After traveling around the world with her father who worked for the UN, she went to Emerson College in Boston, USA for film school. In 1998, she obtained her bachelor in film and moved to Los Angeles. After a couple of years working in independent films, in 2005, she decided to return home to tell stories about her continent.  Since then she has created short films and a  television series. Her first feature film Under the Moonlight was shown at the 18th CFAF in 2008. Moi Zaphira! is her second feature film. 

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