The uprising of Nollywood

LOOKING BEYOND THE CLICHE LOVE STORIES AND THE RITUALS ALWAYS ACTED OUT, NOLLYWOOD HAS COME A LONG WAY.

First of all Kudos to movie producers, directors and Actors who have taken on the task to redefining the imagery inherent about Nigerian movies in years past. If it was not the cliche love stories that often starred a select cast of Genevieve Nnaji, Stella Damascus, Rita Dominic, Chioma Chukwuka and then Ramsey Nouah, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Emeka Ike and Jim Iyke; it was scary underplayed village movies that had witchcraft and occultic kingdom movies starring Kanayo .O. Kanayo and Clem Ohameze. But over the years it is beautiful to have witnessed the growth in depth of script and character representation, not to mention the struggle of watching movies on DVD and CD to the ease and contribution to growth with the introduction and healthy patronage of film houses (cinemas). 

Film as a medium first arrived Nigeria in the late 19th century, in the form of peephole viewing of motion picture devices. These were soon replaced in early 20th century with improved motion picture exhibition devices, with the first set of films screened at the Glover Memorial Hall in Lagos from 12 to 22 August 1903. The earliest feature film made in Nigeria is the 1926's Palaver produced by Geoffrey Barkas; the film was also the first film ever to feature Nigerian actors in a speaking role. As at 1954, mobile cinema vans played to at least 3.5 million people in Nigeria, and films being produced by the Nigerian Film Unit were screened for free at the 44 available cinemas. The first film entirely copyrighted to the Nigerian Film unit is Fincho (1957) by Sam Zebba; which is also the first Nigerian film to be shot in colour.

After the decline of the Golden era, Nigerian film industry experienced a second major boom in the 1990s, supposedly marked by the release of the direct-to-video film Living in Bondage (1992); the industry peaked in the mid 2000s to become the second largest film industry in the world in terms of the number of annual film productions, placing it ahead of the United States and behind only India. It started dominating screens across the African continent, and by extension the Caribbeans and the diaspora, with the movies significantly influencing cultures and the film actors becoming household names across the continent. Since mid-2000s, the Nigerian cinema have undergone some restructuring to promote quality and professionalism, with The Figurine (2009) widely regarded as marking the major turn around of contemporary Nigerian cinema. There have since been a resurgence cinema establishments, and a steady return of the cinema culture in Nigeria. As of 2013, Nigerian cinema is rated as the third most valuable film industry in the world based on its worth and revenues generated.

Nollywood is cinema that evolved from the particular circumstances of Nigeria and became a distinct form of popular expression from the mid-1980s onwards. Nollywood is the fastest-growing film industry in the world, and one of the largest, too, in terms of output, alongside Bollywood and Hollywood. Nigeria produces a staggering 2,500 films a year.
The scripting is getting better, the actors are getting better.
— Onookome Okome; Professor, University of Alberta’s English and film studies department

Nigerian movies have begun to cross boarders to international screenings, film festivals and even awards and recognition. In light of this, five Nigerian movies were listed to compete for the “People’s Choice Award” at the 2017 edition of Nollywood Week Paris Film Festival. According to the organisers ( www.nollywoodweek.com), the movies include award winning ‘76’ directed by Izu Ojukwu, ‘The Wedding Party’ directed by Kemi Adetiba, and ‘Dinner’, a movie directed by Jay-Franklyn Jituboh. Others are ‘Gidi Blues’ and ‘Green White Green’ which were directed by Femi Odugbemi and Abba Makama.

See trailers for the movie below: