Abil Matesun got his first camera as a gift over 20 years ago. “I realized I had an eye for taking photos,” says the Emmy-award-winning artist. The attendant at Walgreens confirmed his hunch by telling him that he looked forward to Matesun dropping off his film to be developed each week telling him,” A lot of us train to do this, you have an actual eye for it.” These words propelled him to follow a passion that would transform into a vocation.
Matesun has photographed and filmed countless stories throughout his esteemed career but the one that stands out in his mind is an assignment where he was commissioned to photograph a story on HIV hygiene. After he met with a 19-year-old girl whose parents died of HIV, he realized that photography, a medium he adored, was not being executed to the standards he needed to tell stories. The seminal moment led him to dive into cinematography and discover new ways to produce stories.
When his mentee Jessica asked him to film her wedding, he pointed out that she did not yet have a boyfriend but promised he would tell her wedding story. Flash forward to when Jessica’s boyfriend proposed and she circled back to Matseun to make good on a promise. The film went viral attracting several million views and igniting his passion for telling wedding stories.
Unconventional, fascinating, and highly dynamic are terms that describe Matesun, Founder and CEO of MalekFoto Films and MalekFoto Weddings. A director and filmmaker, Matesun captivates the power of storytelling through creative visual expressions. “I see couples as actors,” says Matesun whose artistic vision sets the stage with the couple playing the lead roles and their guests included in the cast. A brilliant director, Matesun allows the stories to unfold organically. He recently filmed a wedding where the couple jumped into a pool.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he studied Quantitative Surveying at Yaba College of Technology. “I was born to amazing parents,” he says noting that he can still hear his mother’s voice. “The stories you tell your children transcend time,” he muses. Whether he’s filming by himself or his team of field producers, Matesun makes sure that each production is inspirational and compelling. In 2018, he led a team in writing, filming, and directing an international campaign for Canon, Inc., which went on to be featured all over Africa. His wedding visuals have captured the attention of over 60 million viewers and his innate talent for storytelling and creative sensibilities have earned him international recognition in wedding cinematography, documentary, and short films.
Matesun creates the most memorable wedding and story films with attention to every detail. He believes there is love and a story worth capturing everywhere, and he believes his job is to capture them. The Executive-Producer, Titi Ogufere and Matesun together make magic and showcase the beauty of the artists in Africa. This show on Netflix is an original documentary series highlighting architects, interior and product designers in Africa. The first season focuses on a group of creative luminaries across categories living and working in Africa. Whether he is filming a wedding or creating a documentary, Matesun’s work is infused with love and creativity.