Ifunaya “Funa” Maduka
DIRECTOR OF INTERNATIONAL ORIGINAL FILMS, NETFLIX
As Netflix expands its ever-growing roster to include African original programming, Funa Maduka has a seat at the head of the table. Director of International Original Films for Netflix, the Nigerian-born, Maryland-raised Harvard Business School graduate is instrumental in the streaming giant’s expansion into African markets. “Africa is birthplace to one of the oldest storytelling traditions in the world,” she told Variety in December 2018. “It also has a rich cinematic history.”
Her acquisitions brought the streaming titan its first film nominations at both the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards. But before contributing her skillful strategies to Netflix, she worked at Participant Media developing and managing campaigns for film and television projects. She has also held leadership and strategic positions at McKinsey & Company, the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, the Obama Campaign, the Clinton Global Initiative, and Goldman Sachs.
While she orchestrates her next boss move, the executive doubles as an award-winning filmmaker who continues to produce stories like 2017’s Waiting For Hassana—a short film that shares the story of one of the 276 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Nigeria. “As the director, my aim was to visually and sonically plunge audiences into the psychological and emotional landscape of our subject,” she said in a press release of the first Nigerian film to world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. “That radical intimacy is, to me, the basic and necessary function of art.”