Kemi Adetiba’s ambition within the entertainment industry has expanded the breadth of her career from fashionista to lawyer to DJ to director and producer of music videos. Perhaps the first Nigerian woman to have successfully broken into this many branches of the industry and made a name for herself in music video production, the New York Film Academy filmmaking graduate is known for her impeccable attention to detail when conceptualizing, shooting and editing her videos. She’s attracted attention in the Nigerian entertainment industry for pushing herself to keep learning more about filmmaking techniques and technology even after becoming successful.
Her drive to diversify her talents is how Kemi ended up studying filmmaking and production with us at the New York Film Academy. She explained her journey to NYFA in an interview last year.
I’m a restless person, highly ambitious, and I hunger to learn more. You tend to get the ‘side-eye’ though, because you are a woman and have no formal training. Well, I couldn’t do anything to change the former, but I ‘heck-sure’ could do something to change the latter. So I picked up my junk and went back to school.
A lot of people thought I was crazy for leaving at the supposed height of my career, but I went through it, graduated, and I’m now better for it. I’m actually gearing up to do a more concentrated course in cinematography. I want to stand anywhere, open my mouth, and know what I’m taking about – at least within my industry.
A 2008 graduate of NYFA, she drew from her heritage when producing her thesis film, Across the Bloodied Ocean. The film tells the story of a wealthy African family living in the United States, dealing with their daughter’s refusal to return home to take part in a traditional coming of age ritual.
Right now, Kemi splits her time between Lagos and New York City. She has recently signed with an American management agency and is frequently invited to speak at film festivals and music conferences when she isn’t producing videos.