Monthly Archives: September 2017

Mo Abudu marks double celebration

Media mogul celebrates birthday two days after successful international premiere of her new film

September 12, 2017

Lagos, Nigeria – Founder and chief executive officer of EbonyLife TV and EbonyLife Films, Mo Abudu was a year older yesterday, September 11th. She enjoyed the day with lunch at the CN Tower and dinner at TOCA Restaurant, Ritz-Carlton hotel, Toronto.

She was joined at dinner by the cast and crew of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, and a number of special guests, including Cameron Bailey, Creative Director, TIFF; Kiva Reardon, Programmer, TIFF; Masai Ujiri, President, Toronto Raptors; Moses Babatope, COO, FilmOne; Foli Coker, DG, NTDC; and Funa Maduka, Content Acquisition, Netflix.

This is an extra-special birthday for the woman called ‘Africa’s Oprah’ by CNN and ‘super woman’ by Nigerian celebrity photographer, TY Bello. A new production from EbonyLife Films, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, had its world debut on September 9th at Toronto International Film Festival. Following its successful opening night, Variety magazine wrote a positive article about the movie, saying, “Mo Abudu’s Royal Hibiscus bears the hallmarks of the EbonyLife brand, with its crowd-pleasing polish and an all-star cast.”

She expressed her gratitude on the morning of her birthday, via her Instagram page. “Waking up to this review of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is the best birthday present ever! As I celebrate my 53rd birthday today, I am so grateful and I continue to give God all the glory. I cannot but thank him for his grace in my life; for his love, his favour. Today, I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has, in one way or another, been there for me, supported me, helped me, advised me, encouraged me, celebrated me. As I always say, ‘If you can think it, you can do it’.”

Here’s wishing the media and business powerhouse a very happy birthday and many more amazing years ahead.

See pictures of Abudu’s birthday lunch and dinner, below.


Mo Abudu goes back to school

One of Nollywood’s most successful producers finds time to hone her filmmaking skills while steering multiple projects

Mo Abudu, executive producer of Fifty and The Wedding Party, recently completed an intensive 3-week course for directors at the London Film School.

Coming in the midst of a whirlwind period of production and promotion of two movies, The Wedding Party 2 (with the ELFIKE Film Collective) and The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, the passionate creative was determined to carve out time for learning. “This is an incredibly busy year at EbonyLife, with several series launches on our TV channel, two new films and several other projects in pre-production. However, I felt that it was really important to continue my growth as a filmmaker, with a view to directing my first feature in the near future.”

The course explored the fundamentals of filmmaking from script to screen, and is based on an exercise originally devised by FAMU, the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, Czech Republic. According to Ms. Abudu, “The course was very practical and covered scriptwriting, visual language, choosing locations, working with actors, shooting, editing and post production. One critical area of learning for me was mise-en-scène – the arrangement of everything that appears in the frame – actors, lighting, décor, props and costumes.”

Mo Abudu gets behind the camera to direct filming of her short story, written while on the course.

“Luckily, we had a great course leader, Udayan Prasad, the director of The Yellow Handkerchief (2008), a critically acclaimed independent film, starring Oscar-winner William Hurt, which was a remake of a Japanese classic of the same name. One of Udayan’s favourite sayings is, ‘It all begins and ends with the story’, something that I truly believe in,” says Mo Abudu.

With a slate of new movie releases scheduled for 2018-19, Mo can’t wait to get started. “I have learned so much over the last few weeks and I am really looking forward to putting all of it into practice very soon.”

The world premiere of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (RHH) takes place on Saturday, 9th September 2017 at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Executive Producer, Mo Abudu will be joined by Director, Ishaya Bako and the cast, including Zainab Balogun, Kenneth Okolie, Rachel Oniga, Jide Kosoko, Deyemi Okanlawon, OC Ukejie, Lala Akindoju and Toni Tones. RHH has been highlighted by TIFF as a ‘Hidden Gem’, a film worth viewing by audiences at the festival.

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EbonyLife’s Royal Hibiscus Hotel selected as a ‘hidden gem’ by Toronto International Film Festival

Upcoming release receives impressive accolade, reserved for a handful of movies, just days before its world premiere

September 5, 2017

Lagos, Nigeria – A delightful, original production from EbonyLife Films, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel (RHH), has been recognized as a ‘Hidden Gem’ by Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Generally speaking, a ‘hidden gem’ is something that is undiscovered and of great value. At TIFF, this honour tends to given to well-made, smaller, independent productions, to ensure that they are not overlooked by audiences at the festival.

The film has its world premiere on Saturday 9th September at TIFF, with a further two public screenings on September 11th and 17th. It is the only Nigerian selection and one of just three African feature films at the festival.

Set in Lagos and London, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel tells the story of a disillusioned London chef, ‘Ope’, who returns to Nigeria and discovers that going home can bring unexpected surprises.

This is director Ishaya Bako’s second feature, following his debut, The Road to Yesterday. The cast includes some newer faces in the Nigerian film industry such as Zainab Balogun, Kenneth Okolie, Deyemi Okanlawon and O.C. Ukeje, with veteran actors Rachel Oniga, Jide Kosoko, Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva completing the ensemble. The soundtrack features a score by award-winning musician, Cobhams Asuquo, and songs by leading Nigerian artistes.

Mo Abudu, Executive Producer, is thrilled about this additional recognition. “To have our movie identified by TIFF as a ‘Hidden Gem’ is such a pleasant surprise and is further proof that good quality stories are globally viable. We hope that RHH will resonate with and be enjoyed by everyone who sees it in Toronto,” she said.

The 2017 edition of The Toronto International Film Festival will take place from September 7- 17

The Royal Hibiscus Hotel is scheduled for general release in February 2018.

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Please contact Adeoye Omotayo of R&B PR for further information, on + 234 802 256 3602 or


Johnnie Walker hosts cast of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel

September 5, 2017

Lagos, Nigeria – On Wednesday, August 30th, 2017, Johnnie Walker welcomed some of the cast of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel to a drink reception held at their Ikeja, Lagos office.

The cast in attendance were Zainab Balogun, Deyemi Okanlawon, Rachel Oniga, Kemi ‘Lala’ Akindoju and Toni Tones. They were joined by Maria Zeron (Senior Brand Manager, Johnnie Walker), Adenike Adebola (Marketing Director, Guinness Nigeria PLC- Spirits and Guinness) and (Bodam Taiwo- Reserve Customer Marketing Manager, Diageo Nigeria). Some EbonyLife executives were also in attendance – Michael Williams (Head of Marketing & Media Sales), Eunice Omole (Chief Strategy Officer) and Uzor Onwuchekwa (Executive Director).

The cast spoke about their passion for the movie, their excitement about the upcoming premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and their gratitude to Johnnie Walker for being part of the production. The executives of Diageo expressed similar sentiments and reiterated their commitment to the movie.

Lastly, guests were treated to a signature ‘Royal Hibiscus’ cocktail, created and prepared by Kelvin Oduntan, “Winner Regional World Class Bartender Competition.”

See pictures of the event, here:


Nomination period still open for the 2017 EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards

Unsung Nigerian women with notable achievements to be selected and celebrated

September 5, 2017

Lagos, Nigeria – Do you know a hardworking but unrecognized woman who is positively contributing to society and her community? If you do, nominate her for the 2017 EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards, which will take place on Tuesday, November 14th, at 6:30pm, at Eko Hotels and Suites. Nominations will be accepted until Sunday, October 1st.

The awards acknowledge significant but mostly unknown accomplishments of women in Nigeria, in categories such as business, arts and entertainment. The event will be hosted in partnership with Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), as part of their 16th annual conference.

Mo Abudu, founder and CEO of EbonyLife TV, is looking forward to this year’s nominations.

“Any woman who has significantly contributed to her community and to the larger society should be nominated. Recognizing women who have excelled empowers others to accomplish great things.,” she said.

Aishah Ahmad, chairperson, WIMBIZ Executive Council, is looking forward to the nominations for this year’s Sisterhood Awards. “These awards honour women who have made a mark in their respective sectors, it’s a way of reminding them that their efforts do not go unnoticed,” she said.

More details about the Sisterhood Awards can be found at