Born in Eastern Nigeria, Newton Aduaka and his family moved to Lagos in 1970 at the end of the Biafran War. In 1985 he left for England to study engineering, but discovered cinema. He graduated from the London International Film School in 1990, and in 1997 established Granite Film Works. In 2001, Aduaka's debut feature film, Rage, became the first wholly independently financed film by a black filmmaker in the history of British cinema to be released nationwide. It opened to critical acclaim. He has made many short films as well.
Between 2005 and 2007, he co-wrote, directed and executive-produced Ezra, his first non-independently funded film, for Arte France. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at several film festivals, including FESPACO, Durban, Amiens and Balafon, and was an official selection at Sundance and Cannes.