Thompson: A Genius Who Redefined Film Making In Nollywood

Thompson: A Genius Who Redefined Film Making In Nollywood
Tarila Emmanuel Thompson

Anyone who is conversant with the Nollywood industry would surely nod with recognition when the name ‘Tarila Thompson’ is mentioned. The filmmaker, actor, musician and writer took the industry by storm with his sensational comeback blockbuster ‘In the Creek’ which earned him a notch in the African movie-making venture and a spot among the greats in Nigeria.

Tarila Emmanuel Thompson graduated from the prestigious University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt and while was there he had already written several action-packed movie scripts.

Immediately he graduated, he took the industry by storm. Producing mind-blowing films with limited funds, and this attribute, endeared him to many investors in the business who flocked around him for partnership.

Tarila Thompson is a good family man who is happily married to Funto Diseye Thompson, a marriage which has yielded three wonderful children.

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Tarila Thompson and other crew members on the set of In The Creek

Tarila Thompson first changed the narrative in the Nollywood film industry with his 1993 English full film entitled, ‘Love without Language’ which starred Sandra Achums. The film was a massive hit in Nigeria and Africa basically because it had an excellent storyline, of good quality and was the first Nollywood film to be fully done in English language.

Singlehandedly, Tarila Thompson later churned out another local blockbuster, ‘Back Stab’ which featured renowned activist and entertainer Charley Boy.

Some of Thompson’s directed and produced films include the following:

In the creek (2012)

Above the Crown (2006)
Above the Crown 2 (2006)
Abuja Top Ladies (2006)
Abuja Top Ladies 2 (2006)
Abuja Top Ladies 3 (2006)
Taking Chances (2006)
Taking Chances 2 (2006)
The Grandmasters (2006)
The Grandmasters 2 (2006)
Baby Girl (2005)
Baby Girl 2 (2005)
Beyond Passion (2005)
Beyond Passion 2 (2005)
Squad Twenty-Three (2005)
Squad Twenty-Three 2 (2005)
Unexpected Mission (2005)
Unexpected Mission 2 (2005)
Betrayed by Love (2004)
Deep Loss (2004)
Deep Loss 2 (2004)
Die Another Day (2004)
Die Another Day 2 (2004)
Executive Decision: The Last Option (2004)
Miss Nigeria (2004)
Miss Nigeria 2 (2004)
More Than a Woman (2004)
More Than a Woman 2 (2004)
Never Die for Love (2004)
Never Die for Love 2 (2004)
Promise & Fail (2004)
Promise & Fail 2 (2004)
Silent for Life (2004)
Silent for Life 2 (2004)
Strength of a Woman (2004)
Strength of a Woman 2 (2004)
The Woman in Me (2004)
The Woman in Me 2 (2004)
Virgins Night Out (2004)
Virgins Night Out 2 (2004)
Aristos (2003)
Aristos 2 (2003)
Church Business (2003)
Church Business 2 (2003)
Emotional Tears (2003)
Emotional Tears 2 (2003)
Passion & Pain (2003)
Love in Bondage (2002)
Power of Love (2002)
Power of Love 2 (2002)
Runs! (2002).

Subsequently, Tarila Thompson was appointed a Senior Special Assistant on Media by the former Governor of Bayelsa state, Timipre Sylva where he served diligently throughout the Governor’s tenure.

Thompson’s recent return Nollywood, saw him directing and producing the biggest Nollywood film till date. The film ‘In the Creek’ has been described as a project that was far ahead of its time and as Africa’s biggest export due to the incisive, precise, screenwriting, and directing of the legendary work put Tarila Thompson.

The post-production was handled by Tarila Thompson’s cutting edge El Montage Studios and some other big internationally recognised crew like seasoned Hollywood DOP (Director of Photography) Nikolay Kerezov who worked on the set of Spartacus and Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables, renowned Stunt Director Andrew Mekenzie who worked on the Fast and Furious franchise and a highly accomplished technical crew led by Naude Heunis, Layoda Conrad and Metodi Evstatev, Tarila Thompson left no stone unturned in delivering what has been termed as the best depiction of the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria by any Nollywood film.

Currently, Thompson is about establishing branches of his El Montage Studios in New York, London and Paris to work with the best actors, directors and producers in the film industry.


Tarila Thompson’s blockbuster – In The Creek, is not just a piece of entertainment, it tells in the most compelling way possible, the story of the deprived and disintegrated people of the Niger-Delta. It is a subtle expository of the acts of the multi-national oil companies and the equally destructive role of the government, which is supposed to be the custodian of the welfare of the people. It also tells the story of the exploitation of the people in the region by politicians who take advantage of their vulnerability.

The Action-thriller genred film features A-list international movie celebrities like Jean Denise-Romer, Michael Inhov, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, Van Vicker, Patience Ozokwor, Segun Arinze, Beverly Naya, Paul Obazele and many others which also included real Niger-Delta militants. It was a project that took four years of shooting to realise and a very huge budget of up to 200 million naira to produce due to the dramatisation on real battlefields with original props such as fighter jets, armoured tankers, Gunboats and oil rig explosions. The movie has also been lip-synced in over 5 different foreign languages including French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Cantonese which enabled it to break the barrier of language with its audience globally.

Tarila Thompson’s In The Creek is one example that shows that Nigeria’s Nollywood truly has advanced so much in filmmaking and having a legend like Tarila Thompson in the industry clearly shows that the industry will produce other great minds that can equally direct and produce internationally and critically acclaimed films.