Niyi Towolawi is a British filmmaker and writer/director of TWisTED and Turning Point. He is one of the leading filmmakers introducing the Nollywood audience to international cinema, with films of high production values.
Towolawi is of Yoruba, Nigerian descent and grew up in Canning Town, east London. He is a Mathematics graduate from the University of Manchester, where he played basketball, studied Shaolin Kung fu and was popular on campus for his somewhat eccentric personality and soul train dance moves. He has always been a keen jazz musician and plays several musical instruments.
He began producing music in high school and had a number of white labels releases at the height of the UK Garage scene, and worked with notable artistes including a pre-stardom D’Banj, published under HekCentrik Music. He worked as a software developer, headhunted by some of the world’s leading organisations, after graduating from university, where he continued producing music and shooting numerous music videos, in a cinematic style that evolved into making feature films.
He has been at the forefront of the digital cinematography revolution since 2005 shooting then with 35mm adapters on camcorders, a D-I-Y approach that pre-dates the digital cinema cameras and video DSLR generation of today. His film, “TWisTED” was one of the first to project digitally when it premiered at Odeon, Surrey Quays, in 2007 with support from the UK Film Council.
His films center around people of African origin in the Diaspora and his filmmaking style is visually dynamic and engaging, a rare quality in his genre while his plotlines explore elements of multi-dimensional relationships along ethnic, gender or taboo issues, and often features characters of subjective motives. He lists Ridley Scott as his all-time favourite director.