The demise of ace filmmaker, playwright and director, Biyi Bandele has sent shock waves across the Nigerian movie industry and beyond.
According to a statement by his daughter, Temi, on Monday, Bandele breathed his last on Sunday at the age of 54. The cause of his death was, however, not disclosed.
Here are ten things you should know about the late novelist.
1. He was born on October 13, 1967 in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, and lived in the north-central part of Nigeria until he became an adult.
2. He studied drama at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, in 1987.
3. The young Bandele’s unpublished play, Rain, won the 1989 International Student Playscript competition. A year later, his collection of poems earned him the 1990 British Council Lagos Award.
4. At the age of 22, he moved to London where he would kickstart his career as a writer with the Royal Court Theatre where he wrote radio drama and screenplays for television.
5. His 1994 play, Two Horsemen was selected as Best New Play at the 1994 London New Plays Festival.
6. He had stints as writer-in-residence with Talawa Theatre Company (1994 – 1995), resident dramatist with the Royal National Theatre Studio (1996), the Judith E. Wilson Fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge (2000 – 2001).
7. He made his directorial debut with the 2013 film adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s classic novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. The movie was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
8. Bandele’s 2015 film, Fifty made it to the London Film Festival held the same year. He also directed the third season of the popular MTV drama series, Shuga.
9. He was a well-known novelist whose works include The Man Who Came in from the Back of Beyond (1991), The Street (1999) and Burma Boy (2007).
10. He directed the first Netflix Nigerian Original series, Blood Sisters (2022). Before his death, he worked on Elesin Oba, The King’s Horseman, the film adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s stage play, Death and the King’s Horseman.