University of Huddersfield film lecturer Obi Emelonye has been recognised for his achievements as a film director and writer with an honorary award at the recent 2022 British Urban Film Festival (BUFF) awards.

Obi has been prolific in Nollywood – Nigeria’s film industry – for two decades, and in 2022 his latest film Black Mail was shown at over 100 UK cinemas, making it the biggest ever release for an independently produced Black British film.

Black Mail met with considerable success prior to its nationwide release, winning the 2021 Best Film Award at the African Movie Academy Awards and was nominated as Best Film at the British Urban Film Festival in 2021.

Take a look at the trailer for Black Mail

He was awarded his Lifetime Achievement award at the BUFF ceremony in London, following in the footsteps of luminaries including Wil Johnson and Amma Asante.

“Like I tell my students, everything that we do in this line of work is incremental. It's frame by frame, second by second, minute by minute. That's how you build a picture of a film and that's how you build a picture of a career.

“So, from a little short film that you've done, to your first feature to your very ambitious project, it's all cumulative and you think nobody's noticing.

Obi Emelonye standing with an award

“But the world is noticing, some of the work that you do travels. Places that you would probably never see, or I have projects on Netflix that I have people write me from Brazil, Ecuador and China about to say beautiful things about the work that I've done.

“It is something that I'm really, really proud of. Huddersfield has given me an opportunity to contextualize my work, and I think I'm a better filmmaker for that.”


{{item.title}} - News Story