Nollywood: Fast, Furious, and Misunderstood

This weeks studies had us focus on Global Film ,and had us explore the two markets of Nollywood, and Korean Cinema. Now our tutor brought up a great point; we know Hollywood, we might have heard of Bollywood, but have any of us heard of Nollywood? In my case, I had not! And I am glad I have now. This brings us to the question, why have so many of u not heard of this sensation that is taking the movie industry by a storm?

“Nollywood compels attention from those outside its field
of operation and cultural vision, not that the industry cares for any
attention from the outside.” (Okome, 2007)

Nollywood is exactly what it sounds like, Nigeria’s answer to Hollywood. But saying just this would sell the industry short. Even to this day, despite finding success all over the world, Nollywood has stayed true to many African ideals and customs, and continues to be made by Africans, for Africans. Since its conception in Lagos in the 1990s, it has swiftly grown to account for more than 1844 movies in 2013 alone. By 2009, it had America’s Hollywood in becoming the second largest movie industry in the world, second to only India’s Bollywood (Bright, 2015). The secret behind this is this: cheap production, quantity and the extremely fast way in which the movies are created.

Nollywood is created by Nigerians, for Nigerians. they depict their every day lives, with a movie industry flair. The have incredibly short shoot times, as little as 5 days per film. This has enabled Nollywood creators to flood the market with their films. These are not blockbuster films, but their relatability in African culture through themes such as love, corruption and betrayal has garnered them attention and praise.

Despite never needing to find success in the first place, Nollywood is still viewed by the industry as a niche market, or something exotic. A Nollywood film would never win the “Best Picture”award, they would instead be confined to their own category, “Best Foreign Film”or even “Best Nollywood Picture”. It seems like Nollywood cannot exist outside the framework of Hollywood, despite it continuing to show that it stands out and on its own two feet.

Nollywood provides an escape for people as all movies do. People who identify as coming from that country find a kinship, a connection with the movies as they see problems that they face brought to the front, rather than pushed to the back. They see people who they identify with being represented on the screen, which empowers them. They represent real people, real lives, and real stories. It is the beauty of this that has taken the movie industry by a storm. But, rather funnily, they don’t need our recognition. Onookome Okome (2007) states this fact in her exploration of Nollywood; the inward view of these films establish the industry as an “autonomous local expression”. They have their autonomy, with or without the rest of the world.

Sophie Abrahams

Reference list:

Krings, M & Okome, O. 2013. ‘Global Nollywood: The transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry’, Indiana University Press, 2013. p. 25-43

Okome, O. 2007. ‘Nollywood: spectatorship, audience and the sites of consumption’ Postcolonial Text, 3.2, pp. 1-21.

This is Nollywood 2009, video, California Newsreel, 2nd December, viewed 5th August, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYDBiHEW1Os&gt;

Bright, J. (2015). Meet ‘Nollywood’: The second largest movie industry in the world. [Blog] Fortune. Available at: http://fortune.com/2015/06/24/nollywood-movie-industry/ [Accessed 8 Aug. 2017].

 

 

 

 

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