Friday, 8 May 2009


A Unesco study has rated Nollywood as the second largest film producer in the world ahead of Hollywood.

This has generated much debate with some people arguing that quantity should not be a deciding factor but quality. While this may be true, it is also true that coca cola isn't the healthiest drink, yet its sales amount to billions daily. Quantity certainly is important.

Nollywood has done very well for itself and single handedly so. There has been no government support, very little bank support unlike other countries who don't even have an industry as large as ours.

The industry is ours to build, to nurture till we can beat our hands on our chests and say, yes we did it. Nigerians should stop taking the easy way out by constantly criticising but instead should task their brains a bit and profer solutions. The industry has been recorded as the largest informal employer of labour in Nigeria, at a time when a big telecom firm like Zain is laying off 300 staff in one day, and several banks have slashed salaries, we should be grateful that we have other industries and devise ways to build on them.

The industry offers huge opportunities for employment, for investments, and for Government revenue. Unfortunately, the outside nations are recognising these opportunities more than Nigeria is. Criticism is good but only when constructive. Nollywood has been reported to be a million dollar business, now is the time for us to work together and make this even bigger than it is. The capital market has crashed and the banking sector seems to be on its way down too, even the oil sector seems to be faltering. What may sustain us in the country may be the entertainment sector of which Nollywood is a major player.

Nollywood has major challenges: piracy, distribution and perhaps most importantly the lack of a film village. Businessmen, banks, conglomerates, govenment agencies should identify these challenges and profer solutions that would see both parties smiling to the banks.
Hollywood worked because Americans made it work, and Bollywood as well. It wasn't left to the practitioners alone, as many as could contribute did, with some building film villages, while others provided funds and others battled piracy.

This attitude of Nigerians to constantly reign negative attacks on almost everything is no longer fashionable if it ever was.

The whole world is in recession, now is the time to embrace anything(legal) that may keep us afloat. Agriculture remains largely untapped, instead of expending one's energy hating on Nollywood, one could try developing Agriculture.

Artsville congratulates all Nollywood practitioners and fans for building this amazing industry.
It can only get bigger and better. GO, NOllYWOOD,GO!


olu said...

Not a big fan of the term "Nollywood"! Negative connotations come to mind, a somewhat defeatist acceptance of inferior deference to the real deal.
Not being a connoisseur of Nigerian films, I do not declare any profound knowledge of the breadth and depth of the genre but I will proffer that critique should not be mistaken for negativity. Critique is fundamental to the development of any industry especially of the arts!
My early memory of Nigerian cinema was watching "Aye" at the National Theatre by the late Ogunde - late 70's. That for me was enshrined in the true art of film-making and cinema experience. What is often passed-up in recent times are poor imitations of the classics lacking in finesse, thematic evolution, or professional cinematography. Back in the day, NTA Jos was renowned for the quality of its productions, panoramic locations, acting etc.
Can Nigerian cinema reach the heights of Hollywood? Of course! However, like everything else it would require the attendant professionalism in all aspect of film-making from investment to production, distribution etc. Not everyone that can work a camera should be actor/director/producer/distributor etc all rolled in one! The proliferation of Nigerian Films could have a harmful effect to the brand as long as quantity is favoured over quality!

Richinon said...

Trust Nigerians to be too cynical to give ourselves a pat on the back. In stead, we like to indulge in criticism.

I must admit that there are movies which sometimes cause me to scratch my head and ask what the writer/producer/director was thinking wheh the story was put together. But I have to be fair and say that Nollywood has really come a long way from the nineties when we decided to go aggressively commercial with our movies.

We're not there yet, but still we've come a long way from where we started

olu said...

Somewhat goaded by Richinon’s comments hence the riposte!
Cynicism would imply that Nigerian cinema lacks any merit, whilst "pat on the back" would be an indulgence of mediocrity. Setting the bar low forms the basis for perpetrating the myth of progression. Critique and criticism are poles apart and is a relevant core aspect of the industry as a means to challenge and enhance the quality of productions.
From an historical perspective, sheer increase in volume and commercial activities do not detract from the regression in the quality of production often on offer. Nigerian cinema did not begin in the 90's and the period should not be used as the benchmark.
Appreciate the labour of love often involved in productions given inauspicious prevailing conditions - piracy, inhospitable conditions, poor infrastructure and paltry investment to name a few - however for an objective evaluation, context is crucial. Global perspective is of essence - there has to be a conscious awareness of Nigeria's placing on the global scene - if the saying that for every 4 of people of African origin 1 is a Nigerian - then it is one that comes with huge responsibility that should constitute a core value of the industry. The benchmark for the brand should not only aspire to equal established standards but surpass them! Film-making is a craft, and the industry that evolves around it is for real - industry players and supporters alike need to set the right standards for the brand. As far as games go, it is a serious game for serious players! Equally, if the noise about rebranding Nigeria should be taken seriously – constructive involvement by the government is pertinent.
Not a cynic just a simple minded soul hoping to one day pop to his local cinema to watch a Nigerian-made film of quality in content and production just as I would a French, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Brazilian production. Not too much to ask! Enough of the excuses or indulgence; I refuse to watch sub-standard productions regardless of the "wood", and also refuse to endorse pirated copies - the anathema of the industry!

Trusting Nigerians to be "too cynical" plainly put, is wrong!

Afrobabe said...

Lol @ the cocacola analogy…true..I would rather own the coke company than the lemonade one…