Sep 19
Steve Gukas and Dotun Olakunri’s First Features Project is Uncovering New Nollywood Filmmakers

Steve Gukas and Dotun Olakunri’s First Features Project is Uncovering New Nollywood Filmmakers

Native Filmworks and Michelangelo Productions announce the resumption of their groundbreaking First Features project as the crew returns to set to shoot “Kill Boro.”

The First Features project, spearheaded by Nollywood producing duo Steve Gukas and Dotun Olakunri, is focused on nurturing and empowering a new generation of visionary film directors. It provides training and funds the production of the first feature films by these exciting new voices in the Nigerian film industry.

Visionary Director Steve Gukas (, a seasoned filmmaker renowned for works like “93 Days” and “A Place in The Stars,” emphasised the project’s significance, stating, “The First Features project reflects our unwavering commitment to elevating Nigerian cinema by nurturing emerging talents with top-tier industry expertise. “Kill Boro,” a highly anticipated addition to our 12-film slate (, is being directed by Courage Obayuwana, a protégé of the project.”

The First Features project’s mentorship program enlisted renowned industry professionals, including John Demps, Antonio Ribeiro, Tolu Ajayi, Cristina Aragon, George Kallis, and Steve Gukas. These experts provided invaluable insights into the intricacies of film and television production, equipping emerging directors with the skills necessary to direct feature-length films.

Dotun Olakunri (, co-founder of the initiative and an influential figure in Nollywood, emphasised its importance: “Our objective with First Features is to bolster the talent pool in Nollywood. We firmly believe investing in the next wave of filmmakers is essential for the industry’s continued growth. With the evolving landscape of Nollywood, including the entry of streaming giants like Prime Video, initiatives like First Features play a crucial role in upskilling local talent and ensuring that Nigerian cinema continues to captivate global audiences.”

First Features achieved its first milestone last year with the release of “Cake,” ( a feature film directed by Prosper Edesiri. Starring Tope Tedela, Sophie Alakija, Patience Ozokwor, and other Nollywood stars, the film showcased the potential of the human capacity development project.

Following the success of “Cake,” First Features has concluded production on “Love&Life,” a gripping drama directed by Reuben Reng that stars Rita Dominic, Nse Ikpe-Etim, Chidi Mokeme and Michelle Dede. Also, “It Blooms In June”, directed by Korede Azeez, starring Femi Jacobs, Kiki Omeili, Susan Pwajok, and Kem Ajieh. Love&Life will be released in October 2023, bringing another captivating contribution to Nigerian cinemas.

“As “Kill Boro” begins filming, it marks not only the continuation of our mission to empower emerging filmmakers but also a testament to the vibrancy and innovation driving Nollywood into the future,” Gukas adds.

Kill Boro is currently filming in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Carpe Diem Solutions.

About First Features Project:
The First Features Project, a collaboration between Native Filmworks and Michelangelo Productions, is a pioneering initiative focused on nurturing and empowering a new generation of visionary film directors in Nigeria.

Spearheaded by Steve Gukas and Dotun Olakunri, prominent figures in the Nigerian film industry, the project provides training, mentorship, and funding for the production of debut feature films by emerging voices within the Nigerian film industry.

With its commitment to fostering creativity, diversity, and excellence in filmmaking, the First Features Project is dedicated to elevating Nigerian cinema to global prominence.

About Natives Filmworks and Michelangelo Productions:
Natives Filmworks and Michelangelo Productions are visionary forces in the Nigerian film industry, committed to fostering the growth of emerging talent and elevating Nigerian cinema to global prominence.

Headed by Steve Gukas and Dotun Olakunri, respectively, the team has cumulative industry experience spanning over three decades and has collaborated on producing some of Nollywood’s landmark projects, including films like “A Place In The Stars”, “93 Days” and “Living In Bondage-Breaking Free”.