By Juliet Ebirim
Organisers of the annual, travelling pan-Nigeria, film industry awards, Best Of Nollywood (BON) Awards have announced the appointment of Francis Onwochei (FTA) as the new head of jury.
Prior to his appointment, Onwochei provided specialised advisory services as consultant on motion picture works both for television and film production companies in Nigeria.
He started his career in the creative industry as an actor in 1984 at the National Arts Theatre, Lagos where he grew in skill and experience performing several plays with independent companies like the then Prof JP Clark’s PEC Repertory Theatre and later the National Troupe of Nigeria under Prof. Bayo Oduneye (FTA)
Onwochei studied Surveying in Nigeria with Post Graduate certifications in Film Aesthetics at London International Film School, DW Television Training College, Berlin and New York Film School.
He is an alumnus of Harvard Law School where he focused on International Copyright Administration.
In the course of his career, he has acted, produced and directed several films in Nigeria, prominent amongst which are ‘Raging Storm’ (1997), ‘Final Onslaught’ (1998), ‘Father Tansi’ (1999), ‘Saving Alero’ (2000), which won Best Actress and Best Film at the National Film Festival.
He also has in his repertoire, ‘Claws Of The Lion’ (2004), which won Best Short Film at the Zuma International Film Festival, and Abuja International Film Festival in 2005 and 2006 respectively.
He produced ‘Gliteratti’ (2017), ‘Drop Zone’ (2018), ‘Isoroti’ and ‘Madanwo’ (2021).
On the professional association front, Onwochei is a member of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) and Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN) where at various times he has served as chairman, professional ethics and discipline committee.
He is a recipient of Nollywood Distinguished Veterans Award and was also awarded Fellow of The Arts in 2018.
Fluent in Igbo, Yoruba and English, the widely travelled thespian of Deltan descent is joining the BON team as head of jury for the 14th edition of the awards billed to take place in Owerri, Imo State come December 3. He is taking over from Niran Adedokun who has held the position for the past 13 years meritoriously.
Speaking on the announcement, Onwochei expressed his delight at the trust placed on him to pilot the affairs of the jury.
On his part, Seun Oloketuyi, founder BON Awards revealed that the choice of Francis Onwochei was coming as a need to switch things up. “In the 13 years that Mr Adedokun has been head of jury, BON Awards has remained a credible reward system for Nollywood and we know that with Mr Onwonchei as the new head, the next decade would be another record and testament to that credibility,” he said.