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



Be the first to see full-length trailer of romantic comedy – The Royal Hibiscus Hotel

Teaser of new movie from EbonyLife Films gets an astounding 100,000 views in one day

August 16, 2017

Lagos, Nigeria – A 60-second video teaser of The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, a new movie from EbonyLife Films, was revealed on Instagram yesterday. It received over 100,000 views in only 24 hours. Such was the interest that the full trailer of 3 minutes and 40 seconds has now been released.

Here is the trailer for your enjoyment:



EbonyLife TV announces 2017 Sisterhood Awards

Ceremony will celebrate notable achievements of unsung Nigerian women

August 8, 2017

Lagos, Nigeria – The annual EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards will take place on Tuesday, November 14th, at 6:30pm, at Eko Hotels and Suites. The awards acknowledge significant but mostly unrecognized 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.

Successful nominees will be selected by 10 industry experts, influencers and an independent auditor. Nominations for award recipients will be accepted until Saturday, October 1st.

Mo Abudu, founder and CEO of EbonyLife TV, is looking forward to this year’s ceremony. “Recognizing women who have excelled empowers other women to work together and accomplish great things. The Sisterhood Awards is a way of thanking them for their contributions

to society. Any woman who has accomplished important and meaningful things should be nominated,” she said.

Aishah Ahmad, chairperson, WIMBIZ Executive Council, is also excited to be part of another Sisterhood Awards. “At WIMBIZ, our focus continues to be on female empowerment and on encouraging women to thrive in spite of obstacles on their path. With these awards, we honour women who have made a mark in their respective sectors, women who are positive role models for the younger generation – we remind them that their efforts do not go unnoticed,” she said.

Past award recipients include Mosunmola Umoru (Entrepreneur), Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah (Comedian), Aisha Augie-Auta (Photographer), Crystal Chigbu (Philanthropist), Ema Edosio (Film and TV Director), Ifeyinwa Ojekwe (Made in Nigeria Product), Mai Atafo (Man of the Year), Bisola Adeniyi (Fashion Designer) and Chief Nike Okundaye Davies (Lifetime Achievement).

 More details about the Sisterhood Awards can be found at


CNN highlights upcoming EbonyLife film about forgotten Africans in Nazi Germany

EbonyLife Films is making a film based on the horrific treatment of Afro-Germans and the covert mission to castrate hundreds of their children during Hitler’s regime. The film is titled ‘Ava and Duante’ and is scheduled for release in the later part of 2018. This fascinating project caught the attention of international news network CNN, resulting in an insightful article that was recirculated by other news media.

Based on real-life events, the film tells the fictional story of a mixed-race couple, one of African descent and the other, a white German, whose love blossomed amidst the hate, fear and suspicion that defined their lives. Ava is the daughter of a rich German businessman and Nazi supporter. Duante is a Cameroonian who’s employed in her father’s factory. They have a child and need to get her out of the country, or face her possible sterilization and internment in a concentration camp.

Mo Abudu, executive producer and CEO of EbonyLife Films, talked to CNN about the reason why they decided to make a film about such a terrible time in history. “Ava and Duante is an example of stories that have never been told, stories a lot of people are unaware of. The film will expose some of the appalling things that happened to Afro-Germans during the Nazi regime. It will provide a significant account of those happenings and will shed light on parts of history that have been in the dark for decades,” she said.

The initial stages of the filmmaking process were difficult – many potentially helpful records had been destroyed years ago and there are very few survivors from that time. Thankfully, Theodor Wonja Michael, an Afro-German who lived through the Nazi era, wrote an autobiography. His story helped with the historical context for the film and was instrumental in its script development.

Despite the unpleasant subject matter, ‘Ava and Duante’ is about hope, love and survival in the midst of unspeakable cruelty towards an entire community.

Read the CNN article, here –


Be prepared for ‘more crazy’ with season two of On the Real – it’s like nothing else on television

Fans are anticipating juicier storylines and wilder antics, with the YouTube release of On the Real, season 2, scheduled for August 4th at 4 p.m. The television premiere was on August 2, 2017, at 8:30 p.m. (WAT). This edgy show is about five young and beautiful Nigerian reality-TV stars (Faridah, Wana, Efosa, Amaka and BJ) who lie, cheat and swear their way to fame and fortune, as their foul-mouthed producer, Lolu, struggles to keep their reality show at number one. .

The series blurs the lines between reality and their on-screen lives and shows what people are capable of doing for fame and fortune. In the second season, viewers will be reintroduced to ‘Auta’, the scheming girlfriend of ‘Efosa’, and will meet ‘Chidinma’, loyal wife of ‘Lolu’, the ill-tempered producer who is cheating on her with ‘Faridah’, the star of his show.

Producer Temidayo Abudu is thrilled with the new season. “On the Real is a unique series which millennial audience will connect to in different ways. With characters constantly getting involved in outrageous and illegal activities, there are no dull moments in the show – it is a must watch every Wednesday,” she said.

In anticipation of the August television premiere, fans are being teased with posters and trailers that show the characters’ worst traits and give a glimpse into what viewers can expect from the dysfunctional relationships in this weekly drama.

On the Real is part of the ‘GenZ’ Wednesday lineup on EbonyLife TV, designed to connect with the young and young at heart.

Visit our YouTube channel – EbonyLifeTV


Scandalous women of Fifty sparkle on opening night


Last Thursday, the much-hyped Fifty television series made its debut on EbonyLife TV, complete with trending chatter on Twitter and live online interaction with the stars of the show.

So, was it worth all the noise?

Coming on the back of a blockbuster movie – the highest-grossing Nollywood drama of all time and the top film of 2015 – expectations were high for this series sequel. I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint. Right from the opening scenes, I was intrigued to know the identity of Lizzie’s new (and very young) husband. The other characters, Tola (Dakore Akande, Maria (Omoni Oboli) and Kate (Keira Hewatch), all played a role in the buildup to this unusual matchup. (more…)