The Rise of Nollywood

The Rise of Nollywood

Nigeria is not only the most populous country in Africa that happens to be home to the continents richest man..It is not just an amazingly multicultural and multilingual nation with over 500 indigenous languages and 250 ethnic groups. It is also home to the world’s third largest (yes..indeed) movie industry also known as Nollywood. Nollywood is the nickname for the Nigerian Movie Industry which has been on the rise for the last decade and thanks to streaming service Netflix, now has the opportunity to go global and introduce Nigerian movies to world viewers. With over 50 movies debuting in Nigeria every week, which means that Nollywood produces more than 10 000 movies per year, an astonishing number and only behind Hollywood and Bollywood and the moment.  The average production of Nollywood films costs approximately 15,000 USD and takes at least 10 days to make.

Piracy Issues

Piracy issues have plagued the Nigerian film industry for years. As a nation that lacks fundamental infrastructures for the development of a film industry, Nigeria has not historically had robust intellectual property enforcement which in turn has led to a relative absence of intellectual property. Nonetheless, the introduction of streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, a new distribution channel has helped the evolution and rise of Nollywood.

Netflix

Netflix first launched its service in Africa in 2016. and it has since steadily increasing its investment in African productions with Lioneart (See below) been the first movie acquired and a few others since such a Chief Daddy. As Mo Abudu, chief executive officer of EbonyLife noted:

The arrival of streaming technology has the potential to upend that dynamic and introduce Nigerian films to a much broader market on both sides of the Atlantic. Now is a good opportunity for more capital to be pumped into Nollywood.

Last month (which coincided with Black History Month) the UK Nollywood Producers Guild also hosted the second UK Nollywood Film Festival (UKNFF)  at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel which as well attended by stakeholders and big names in Nollywood.

Marc Adebesin Publicity Director of UK Nollywood Producers Guild said:

We all need to support integration in Nollywood as this does not just happen without each one of us being fully involved. I have a dream that one day Nollywood would be able to create global block buster’s just like Hollywood!

Nonetheless, despite the wide acceptance and impressive growth of the industry, it is interesting to note that the Oscars (for one more year) snubbed Nigerian movies and specifically Lionheart. This unceremonious exclusion of “Lionheart” indicates that the academy — and subsequently Hollywood in general — is still not ready to include Nigerian films in its quilts and the efforts for diversity and inclusion are still in “infant” stages.

We strongly advise seeing Lionheart on Netflix, which tells the story of Adaeze Obiagu (portrayed by Nnaji), who wants to substitute for her father, Chief Ernest Obiagu (Pete Edochie), when he can no longer run his company due to health issues. Her father, however, asks his brother Godswill (Nkem Owoh) to take his place, and Godswill and Adaeze have to work hard together to save the company from debt and to not lose it to the businessman Igwe Pascal (Kanayo O. Kanayo).

The hunger of diasporan Africans for homegrown content and the improvement of the quality of the movies created along with the introduction of streaming networks is undoubtedly going to increase popularity and growth of the industry. We will keep you informed and look forward to your suggestions and favourite movies in the comments section below.

CJ Glam is a networking organisation based in London with an aim to promote everything that is African owned and Quality in the UK.

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