Cinema of Nigeria
|Cinema of Nigeria|
|Number of screens||100 (estimate, 2011)|
|• Per capita||0.1 per 100,000 (2011)|
|Main distributors||Blue Pictures 50.0%
Ossy Affason 10.0%
|Produced feature films (2009)|
|Number of admissions (2010)|
|National films||117,563 (25.6%)|
|Gross Box Office|
|Total||NGN 374 million|
|National films||NGN 86.4 million (23.1%)|
The cinema of Nigeria grew quickly in the 1990s and 2000s to become the second largest film industry in the world in number of annual film productions, placing it ahead of the United States and behind only Indian cinema. According to Hala Gorani and Jeff Koinange formerly of CNN, Nigeria has a US$250 million movie industry, creating some 200 videos for the home video market every month.
Nigerian cinema is Africa's largest movie industry in value and the number of movies produced per year. Although Nigerian films have been produced since the 1960s, the rise of affordable digital filming and editing technologies has stimulated the country's video industry. The Nigerian video feature film industry is sometimes colloquially known as Nollywood, having been derived as a play on Hollywood in the same manner as Bollywood from Bombay, India.
The first Nigerian films were made by filmmakers such as Ola Balogun and Hubert Ogunde in the 1960s, but they were frustrated by the high cost of film production. However, television broadcasting in Nigeria began in the 1960s and received much government support in its early years. By the mid-1980s every state had its own broadcasting station. Law limited foreign television content so producers in Lagos began televising local popular theater productions. Many of these were circulated on video as well, and a small-scale informal video movie trade developed.
The release of the box-office movie Living in Bondage in 1992 by NEK Video Links owned by Kenneth Nnebue in the eastern city of [[Mgbidi]/[Onitsha]] set the stage for Nollywood as it is known today. The story goes that Nnebue had an excess number of imported video cassettes which he then used to shoot the first film. Its huge success set the pace for others to produce other films or home videos. Through the business instincts and ethnic links of the Igbo and their dominance of distribution in major cities across Nigeria, home videos began to reach people across the country. Nollywood exploded into a booming industry that pushed foreign media off the shelves, an industry now marketed all over Africa and the rest of the world. The use of English rather than local languages expanded the market and aggressive marketing using posters, trailers, and television advertising also played a role in Nollywood's success.
Since then, thousands of movies have been released. One of the first Nigerian movies to reach international renown was the 2003 release Osuofia in London, starring Nkem Owoh, the famous Nigerian comedic actor. Modern Nigerian cinema’s most prolific auteur is Chico Ejiro ("Mr. Prolific"), who directed over 80 films in an eight-year period and brags that he can complete production on a movie in as little as three days. Ejiro’s brother Zeb is the best-known director of these videos outside of the country.
The first Nollywood films were produced with traditional analog video, such as Betacam SP, but today almost all Nollywood movies are produced using digital video technology. The Guardian has cited Nigeria's film industry as the third largest in the world in earnings and estimated the industry to bring in US$200 million per year. As the paper cites the success can also be attributed to Ghanaian films. Nollywood's biggest competition on the African continent is the Ghanaian film industry; Nigerian filmmakers usually collaborate with Ghanaian actors and directors. Van Vicker, a popular Ghanaian actor, has starred in many Nigerian movies and famous Nollywood actress Genevieve Nnaji has starred in many Ghanaian films. Due to their collaborations, Western viewers oftentimes confused Ghanaian movies with Nollywood and count their sales as one; however, they are two independent industries. That sometimes share the colloquial Nollywood. In 2009, Unesco described Nollywood as being the second-biggest film industry in the world after Bollywood in output and called for greater support for second-largest employer in Nigeria.
Most movies are not produced in studios. Video movies are shot on location all over Nigeria with hotels, homes, and offices often rented out by their owners and appearing in the credits. The most popular locations in the cities of Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja. However, distinct regional variations appear between the northern movies made primarily in the Hausa language, the western Yoruba movies, the Edo language movies shot in Benin City, and the Igbo movies shot in the southeast. Many of the big producers have offices in Surulere, Lagos.
To improve the quality of Nigerian film productions, the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, pledged in 2010 to create a $200 million loan fund to help finance film projects. Nigerian directors adopt new technologies as soon as they become affordable. Editing, music, and other post-production work are done with common computer-based systems.
With an eye to attracting an international mainstream audience, Nigerian filmmakers are increasingly turning to the West for actors like Isaiah Washington, and Thandie Newton. The same developments are taking place in co-productions with filmmakers from other African countries. The 'Princess of Africa,' Yvonne Chaka Chaka, starred in Foreign Demons, a film set in Nigeria as well as her native South Africa.
The primary distribution centers are Idumota Market on Lagos Island, 51 Iweka Road in Onitsha in Anambra State, and 1/3 Pound Road Aba in Abia State. Currently, Nigerian films outsell Hollywood films in Nigeria and many other African countries. Some 300 producers turn out movies at an astonishing rate—somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 a year. The films go straight to DVD and VCD. Thirty new titles are delivered to Nigerian shops and market stalls every week, where an average film sells 50,000 copies. A hit may sell several hundred thousand. Discs sell for one to two dollars each, making them affordable for most Nigerians and providing astounding returns for the producers.
Most of the films are produced by independent companies and businessmen. However, the big money for films in Nigeria is made in the direct-to-video market. The average film costs between US$17,000 and US$23,000, is shot on video in just a week—selling up to 150,000–200,000 units nationwide in one day. With this type of return, more and more are getting into the film business. By most reports, Nollywood is a $500-million industry. And it keeps growing. According to Frank Ikegwuonu, author of Who's Who in Nollywood, about "1,200 films are produced in Nigeria annually." And more and more filmmakers are heading to Nigeria because of "competitive distribution system and a cheap workforce." Further, Nigerian films seem to be better received by the market when compared to foreign films because "those films are more family oriented than the American films."
Nigerian movies are available in even the most remote areas of the continent. The last few years have seen the growing popularity Nigerian films among the people of African diaspora in Europe, North America and the Caribbean. Nigerian films are receiving wider distribution as Nigerian producers and directors are attending more internationally acclaimed film festivals. In the USA, viewers can watch Nollywood and other West African movies on Afrotainment. Online streaming is gradually becoming part of the distribution system with sites like iROKOtv and AllAfricanCinema showing Nollywood video content.
Many Nollywood movies have themes that deal with the moral dilemmas facing modern Africans. Some movies promote the Christian or Islamic faiths, and some movies are overtly evangelical. Others, however, address questions of religious diversity, such as the popular film One God One Nation, about a Muslim man and a Christian woman who want to marry and go through many obstacles.
Portrayal in the Western media
- The 2007 documentary Welcome to Nollywood by director Jamie Meltzer gives an overview of the industry. It pays particular attention to directors Izu Ojukwu and Chico Ejiro, and acknowledges the unusual, rapid, and enterprising way that most Nollywood films are created as well as their significance and contribution to the greater society and the production difficulties Ojukwu faced during production of his war epic Laviva.
- Franco Sacchi's 2007 documentary This Is Nollywood follows the production of Check Point, directed by Bond Emeruwa. It features interviews with Nigerian filmmakers and actors as they discuss their industry, defend the types of films they make and detail the kind of impact they can have. In 2007, Franco Sacchi presented the film on Nollywood at the TED conference.
- The 2007 Danish documentary Good Copy Bad Copy features a substantial section on Nigerian cinema. It focuses on the direct-to-DVD distribution of most Nigerian movies, as well as the industry's reliance on off-the-shelf video editing equipment as opposed to the more costly traditional film process.
- A 2008 Canadian documentary Nollywood Babylon was co-directed by Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal, and produced by AM Pictures and the National Film Board of Canada in association with the Documentary Channel. It played in the Official Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009.
- Patience Ozokwor
- Ngozi Ezeonu
- Funke Akindele
- Hassanat Akinwande
- Regina Askia
- Pascal Atuma
- Liz Benson
- Chioma Chukwuka
- Stella Damasus-Aboderin
- Richard Mofe Damijo
- Tonto Dikeh
- Rita Dominic
- Ini Edo
- Pete Edochie
- Ufuoma Ejenobor
- Omotola Jalade Ekeinde
- Desmond Elliot
- Chiwetalu Agu
- Nse Ikpe Etim
- Kate Henshaw-Nuttal
- Osita Iheme
- Chinedu Ikedieze
- Jim Iyke
- Kevwe Abamba
- Mercy Johnson
- Kanayo O. Kanayo
- Oby Kechere
- Jide Kosoko
- Genevieve Nnaji
- Ramsey Nouah
- Stephanie Okereke
- Oge Okoye
- Zack Orji
- Nkem Owoh
- Baba Suwe
- Dolly Unachukwu
- Chet Anekwe
- Joke Silva
- Olu Jacobs
- Kunle Afolayan
- Lt. Sam Loco Efe
- Lt. Justice Esiri
- Anita Joseph
- Saint Obi
- Ifeakachi Miracle
- Mike Ezeuroyne
- Chika Ike
- Queen Mokoye
- "Table 8: Cinema Infrastructure - Capacity". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Table 6: Share of Top 3 distributors (Excel)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Table 1: Feature Film Production - Genre/Method of Shooting". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Table 11: Exhibition - Admissions & Gross Box Office (GBO)". UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
- "Nigeria surpasses Hollywood as world's second largest film producer – UN". United Nations. 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
- "Nigeria's Nollywood eclipsing Hollywood in Africa". The Independent. May 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-24.
- "The Best of African Film in 2004". CNN. 2004-12-18. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
- Freeman, Colin (2007-05-07). "In Nollywood, 'lights, camera, action' is best case scenario". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
- The Economist, "Nollywood: Lights, camera, Africa", 18 December 2010, pp. 85-88.
- New Nigerian Cinema: An Interview with Akin Adesokan (2006). Retrieved from www.Indiana.edu on May 27, 2008. Archived September 16, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- "Nigeria's film industry, The Economist". Economist.com. 2006-07-27. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Onishi, Norimitsu (2002-09-16). "Step Aside, L.A. and Bombay, for Nollywood". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Faris, Stephan (2002), “Hollywood: Who Really Needs It?” Retrieved from  on May 28, 2008.
- "Nollywood in Retrospect". AllAfrica.com (AllAfrica Global Media). 20 April 2008. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Sickels, Robert C. (2009). The Business of Entertainment: Movies. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-275-99840-0.
- Hayward, Susan (1996). Cinema studies: the key concepts. Routledge. p. 377. ISBN 0-415-36781-6.
- Evuleocha, Stevina U. Nollywood and the home video revolution: implications for marketing videofilm in Africa. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. pp. 407–417. doi:10.1108/17468800810906101. ISSN 1746-8809.
- Vasagar, Jeevan (2006-03-23). "From ''The Guardian''. Retrieved from film.guardian.co.uk on May 27, 2008". London: Film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Favour-Mayor, Ugochukwu (14 September 2012). "Nollywood... in search of rescue mission". The Guardian (Lagos, Nigeria). Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- From The Guardian. Retrieved from film.guardian.co.uk on May 27, 2008
- Clayton, Jonathan (3 April 2010). "Nollywood success puts Nigeria’s film industry in regional spotlight". The Times. Retrieved 3 April 2010.
- Semple, Kirk (23 September 2012). "Of Nigeria, but Casting a Wider Net". The New York Times (New York, USA). p. 14. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- Can Thandie Newton Play an Igbo Woman?
- Foreign Demons Invade Nigerian Cinemas
- Oogbodo, Oseyiza (14 July 2012). "Feathered Dreams live your life". National Mirror. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Welcome to Nollywood". welcometonollywood.com. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- This Is Nollywood
- "Franco Sacchi tours Nigeria's booming Nollywood | Video on". Ted.com. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- "Good Copy Bad Copy". Good Copy Bad Copy. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- "Nollywood Babylon | Sundance Festival 2009". Festival.sundance.org. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Juju and Justice at the Movies: Vigilantes in Nigerian Popular Videos, African Studies Review
- Africa Update: Special Issue on the Nigerian Film Industry
- Krahe, Dialika (2010-04-23). "Nigeria's Silver Screen: Nollywood's Film Industry Second only to Bollywood in Scale". Der Spiegel (SPIEGEL-Verlag). Retrieved 2010-04-24.