Kunle Afolayan, the son of Nigerian actor, filmmaker, dramatist, and producer Adeyemi Josiah Afolayan, began his creative journey at a young age, travelling across West Africa to learn the craft of screening films off 16mm projectors. After earning a degree in business administration, he spent seven years in banking before returning to his roots and studying at the New York Film Academy in London. For Kunle, Netflix’s entry into the Nigerian market couldn’t have come at a better time, as distribution has been a major challenge for indie filmmakers worldwide.
In March 2021, Netflix signed a three-film deal with Kunle, with Aníkúlápó being the second title in the agreement. The film, which was released on September 30, 2022, tells the story of a widow, a spirit, and the promise of another chance at life in an epic fantasy setting. The film quickly became Nigeria’s most-watched film of 2022 and earned a spot in the global top 10 as the number one foreign film on Netflix. Kunle believes that the film’s success demonstrates the market’s readiness for more diverse and sustainable content that showcases the richness of Yoruba culture.
Kunle’s “winning team,” which includes much of the crew behind Aníkúlápó, has been on a decade-long journey together. He attributes the film’s success to the dedication and hard work of this team, which has been able to produce a high-quality, culturally rich product that resonates with audiences across the globe. The success of Aníkúlápó has made it clear that there is a hunger for more diverse content that reflects the unique cultural perspectives of filmmakers from around the world, and Kunle is committed to meeting that demand.