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Funke Akindele on how she broke the box office with 'A Tribe Called Judah'

Her productions are currently the top three highest-grossing Nigerian films ever.

Funke Akindele speaks on her latest record-breaking film 'A Tribe Called Judah' [Instagram/FunkeJenifaAkindele]

In a new interview with Channels TV, Akindele acknowledges that the NTA family drama series that she starred in as a teenager, I Need To Know was a great launching pad for her groundbreaking career, which has now led her to over a billion naira in ticket sales at the local box office with A Tribe Called Judah.

According to the actress, "I started with I Need to Know, and while on the set, I was understudying every department. I'm self-taught. I was there as an actress, and I was checking out everything, and I was always asking the director then. He is late now. I will ask Baba, (we called him Baba) 'What is this?' 'Oh this camera is for this,' 'This light is called this,' and then from there, I moved on to the Yoruba genre, and I started learning how to produce. Yoruba movie makers are very good producers."

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A Tribe Called Judah tells the story of five brothers: Jide Kene Achufusi as Emeka Judah, Timini Egbuson as Pere Judah, Uzee Usman as Adamu Judah, Tobi Makinde as Shina Judah, and Olumide Oworu as Ejiro Judah, who must unite to rob a company to save their mother, played by Akindele as Jedidah Judah.

The feature-length film officially hit the one billion naira gross income on Thursday, January 4, 2023, which is the first ever Nollywood title to break that record and highest-grossing Nigerian film currently.

Speaking on the core Nigerian heritage that the production highlights, Akindele emphasises that the desired glitz and glamour seen in the Western culture can also be achieved by leaning into stories African-focused stories.

"I think just telling the African stories, being very original, saying what we have here globally and you will see. Bollywood, Indians, they will tell their story. They will speak their languages. Some people will be like 'She likes grass roots so much,' 'We want to see cars,' We want to see fashion. 'Yes, we can see all these. Yes, the international needs to know we know fashion. We are good and we have got what it takes to be Western. But we are not. We are Africans," she said.

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A Tribe Called Judah is currently showing across cinemas nationwide and the United Kingdom.

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