JOHN OLUWOLE ADEKOJE
John Oluwole ADEkoje is a Nigerian-American filmmaker who examines the crossroad at which African and African-American filmmaking meet. John was born in St. Paul, Minnesota to Nigerian parents. A first generation American, his family relocated back to Kaduna, Nigeria when he was 9 years old and he lived there until he returned to the United States to attend the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse. John later pursued a double MFA in filmmaking and dramatic writing from Humboldt State University, where he began his exploration of what he termed the “Language of the Diaspora”. The “Language of the Diaspora” served as the foundation of his search for ways to create work that imagines and embodies the future of Afrocentric visual storytelling. Culturally a dual citizen, he was keenly aware that African storytelling was not considered in the American traditional canon.
Intending to center diasporic storytelling in American cinema in the same manner that African-American culture fuels western culture globally, John uses the frequencies of different cultures of the African diaspora throughout his work, creating a pan-African point-of-view. His body of work explores the hopes, dreams and dilemmas of the diaspora guided by the principles of cinema and African storytelling. His approach to constructing his narratives and editing his films is inspired by African-American music and the genre of hip-hop specifically. He uses the sampling of different cultures and a non-linear structure to create a dramatic form developed out of living African traditions.
John’s prolific dramatic writing brought him to the stage early in his career. He is an accomplished theatre-maker who won the Kennedy Center ACTF Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, the National Tri-Annual New Play Competition for Professional Writers and was a Playwriting Fellow at the Tony award-winning Huntington Theater Company. As a filmmaker, John’s documentary Street Soldiers screened at the Pan African Film Festival (Cannes), The World Film Festival (Montreal), and the Roxbury International Film Festival (Boston) where he won the Emerging local Filmmaker Award. His first full-length feature film, Knockaround Kids screened at the North Carolina Black film festival, Urban World film festival (New York), St. Louis Black film festival, the BronzeLens film festival (Atlanta) where it was nominated for Best Feature Film. John received the Amy Hood Visionary award for his film adaptation, writing and directing of the one-man show, Triggered and was awarded a “Best of Boston” honor for his film adaptation of Idris Goodwin’s play Hype Man by Boston Magazine. His short, psy-fi screenplay 1,000 Light Years was a quarter-finalist at the Cinequest film festival. In 2017, John and his producing partner Miranda ADEkoje founded Jagun Fly Productions to produce content that presents his vision for a fresh, authentic, and innovative cinematic language that continues to uncover the universal human condition.