Search Results: nollywood

Nollywood, the next big thing in world entertainment

by NMN (Staff) / 1,454 Views

Nollywood will be the next big thing in world cinema. Just believe it. Nigeria’s movie industry is thriving, and it’s about time you took notice. Fondly referred to as Nollywood, it is now an $800 million industry, providing employment for about 300,000 people as actors, directors, marketers and distributors.

After Hollywood, it is the second largest in the world – even bigger than India’s Bollywood. Nigerian movies are immensely popular, particularly in Africa, where they currently outsell Hollywood films. And Nollywood stars are much more popular on the continent than their Hollywood counterparts. Chances are that Kenyans or Malawians will better recognize Genevieve Nnaji and Ramsey Nouah (both Nollywood idols), than Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington.

Nollywood has come a long way from where it started 20 years ago. Before now, Western critics were usually quick to dismiss the quality of its productions as poor, the industry as amateurish, its talent as sloppy and its future as bleak. Understandably so. Movies were made on the cheap- a typical budget ranged anywhere from $15,000 to $30,000. Shoots were rushed; they rarely lasted a week. Cheap digital equipment and cameras were mostly used, and directors were untrained. The movies generally bypassed the cinema, going straight to DVD and VCD discs.

Majority of the actors were mediocre at best. The stories were cliché and mildly annoying. A typical story line went something like this: poor boy meets rich girl; they fall in love; rich girl’s parents strongly disapprove of union; boy and girl fight all obstacles and true love prevails in the end. Other typical story lines included voodoo tales, historical epics, religious conflicts and economic hardship. It was generally mundane.

But even with the substandard quality of the movies, they thrived. The average flick sold over 50,000 copies. Some even sold as many as several hundred thousand, while a few hit a million. And at $1.50 per disc, they were affordable for most Nigerians and generated astounding returns for the producers.

But things have changed. The Nigerian movie industry is experiencing an evolution. The quality of our movies is much better than ever before; our actors are better financially compensated; directors and other professionals in the industry are travelling overseas to institutions like the New York Film Academy to hone their skills; investors and businessmen are pouring more substantial financial resources into the production of better quality flicks. Nowadays, it’s common place to see movies produced on a 6-figure budget, which is a major improvement from the past.

In 2009, Kunle Afolayan, a leading Nigerian movie producer, raised about $300,000 to shoot Figurine, an outstanding production which premiered on local and international cinemas and went on to win 5 stars at the African Movie Academy Awards, our very own version of the Oscars. Several Nigerian movie producers and directors are following suit.

But this is just the beginning: Nollywood is coming of age; its producers and other leading lights are more ambitious than ever before, and they are catching up with Hollywood, slowly albeit steadily. With time, the industry will be rewarded with the critical reception it currently lacks among great world cinema.

Culled from Newsletter.

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How To Become The Next Big Nollywood Actor

by NMN (Staff) / 2,638 Views

Nigeria Movie Network

Raymonds Guide:

If I may make this quick introduction. I have been a keen observer in the movie industry known today as Nollywood. I've followed it's storied history with great passion, and have seen stars rise and fall. I therefore have some experience when it comes to scouting for 'the next big thing in Nollywood'.

Do you fantasize about been chased out of an eatery by your numerous teeming fans? Or do you like the idea of been addressed as the biggest and brightest but most controversial star in the whole Nollywood galaxy? well if you answered yes to either of those questions, then these rules you must obey religiously!

Firstly: Change Your Accent

If you want to make it big in this industry you have to sound posh, put some exotic flavours to your raw accent, make it go up a notch with some class applied.

Some accents that could get you recognized are the English accent (mostly the vocals) and then of course, American. Never pronounce the 'T' if your going to say a word like 'hunter', it should come out as 'hunner', but this golden rule has some exceptions.  If you're a short funny looking midget, you don't have to fake your act -- leave it raw; people won't really care or notice your accent because they are eagerly  (Alway remember this change your accent rule worked for Ramsey Noah)

Get Real!

This second rule if obeyed and followed with so much seriousness could get you into Nollywood faster than you can say the word 'ACTION'. The rule simply involves you 'getting real' that is going into reality television, it really pays and with all these reality TV buzz hitting the entertainment industry you'd have to be unluckier than Stephanie Okereke not to get chosen for at least one of them. And when you do get chosen try be controversial, don't sit back saying "I just want to be myself!" that doesn't do rubbish for you, always slam peoples egos even if its uncalled for, take a page out of vaughn's (sic) playbook (vaughn remember him? the dude from gulder ultimate search). You should also be smart enough to use the first rule!

Do Outrageous Things

If you want to make it in Nollywood, it would be wise to do silly things at the right time. Wear skimpy dresses (if you're a lady), maybe admit smoking marijuana -- give it a corny name like wisdom weed, attend celebrity parties, try to create a scenario every time you are in such parties. This can get your name into local tabloids and fuel their hunger for new material, and before you know it -- news about you will be spreading in the Nigerian movie industry, luckily; a Nollywood film-maker or director might pick you up. 

And for those dull moments when you seem to loose the motivation to go for auditions, remember that Lillian Bash who actually had a semi pot belle was once a Delta soap girl for a year with a pot belle; and those two midgets have acted in more that 100 Nollywood movies, so why can't YOU BE THE NEXT NOLLYWOOD STAR?

Nigeria Movie Network

This discussion was started on Nairaland, by Raymond.

Submitted and edited by Kevin Onuma.

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Poor funding, distribution network and scripting , identified as bane of Nollywood

by NMN (Staff) / 1,089 Views

Lack of proper distribution network, scripting and poor funding have been identified as the major factors militaing against the growth of Nollywood.

Also identified as part of the constraints of the industry is the issue of lack of training as it affects the practitioners.

Industry operators and stakeholders who identified these constraints while brainstorming on the way forward for Nollywood at the quarterly art stampede organised last Sunday by the Committee for Relevant Art(CORA) blamed the problems of the industry largely on the inability of the film makers to decide on what format they want to write their scripts.

They also pointed out that inadequate distribution network creates room for pirates to feast on the sweat of the film makers. The panelists comprising notable film makers, critics and directors however took a holistic look at the state of the industry, and therefore posited that except something urgently is being done to address these anomalies, the industry will continue to suffer serious setbacks.

Setting the tone of discourse was Mahmood Ali-Balogun, producer of Read more »

The New Nigerian Cinema: Does it look Nollywood or Hollywood?

by NMN (Staff) / 3,197 Views

Mike Ekunno who was a Senior Speechwriter to the immediate past Minister of Information and Communications, takes a panoramic view of the celluloid scene and tries to anticipate its future direction. Read the transcript below:

Nollywood is at the threshold of a paradigm shift which may have started in 2010. Just as 1992 is credited with the birth of Nollywood with ‘Living In Bondage', a modest cache of offerings on the big screen (The Figurine, Inale, Ije 'The Journey', and Anchor Baby) may have started the rebirth of Nollywood. But as to the nature of this change, it is still morning yet on creation day.

Time will tell whether the change is an ecdysis of the snake merely shedding its skin or a mutation that goes down to the genes. If it is the former, there may be nothing to cheer except the fact of the different platform - cinema - that the movies are coming out on. But if it is the latter, there will be lots to cheer, because it means we will be seeing changes in the very characteristics that define (and malign) Nollywood. What are these characteristics?

Low budgets
Budget and gestation period are top on the list of Nollywood's defining parameters. Nollywood movies are low budget movies. With two million naira, a producer can cobble together a flick. Also, the gestation period from pre-production to marketing can be of the order of few weeks. Somehow, the questions of budget and gestation period are inter-connected, like an engine head and its trailer.

Low budget means that the script cannot be properly researched or a good scriptwriter hired. Many a time, some hare-brained storyteller is engaged and gifted character actors are invited to listen to the story and ad-lib their parts. Casting, set making, props and the shooting proper, all suffer from this paucity of funding.

In contrast, ‘Inale', one of the new films whose release signposts the new era, reportedly cost $2.8 million (N300m) to produce. By Hollywood standards, this figure is chicken change but in Nollywood, it is a king's ransom. The difference is visible in the quality of the film, to confirm our Nigerian saying that "better soup, na money kill am."

As for duration, ‘Ije' took 18 months for shooting alone, with locations in Jos and the US. This contrasts with the fortnight average duration of a shoot for Nollywood movies.
Another parameter to be used in evaluating how much of Nollywood is to be found in the new cinema is in the craft. I use craft here as an omnibus word that encompasses directing, acting, the storyline, and its treatment. As far as acting goes, Nollywood's best can hold the candle to the best in the world. What is lacking is the directorial capacity to lift their game.

In many star roles of the quartet under review, it is the self-same Nollywood actors that put up stellar performances. Whether one is talking about ‘The Figurine' (Ramsey Noah, Kunle Afolayan, Omoni Oboli, etc) or ‘Ije' (Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde), the story is the same. One can, therefore, posit that the problem with Nollywood is not in the actors but the acting (excuse the pun). This is true, especially of the A-list actors.

As for the storylines, those of our normative quartet are no different from the regular Nollywood fare. Nollywood has countless stories of mysterious jinxes to rival ‘The Figurine'. It has done too many epics to make ‘Inale' special just on that score. What is missing from the Nollywood equivalents is treatment that is suspenseful and filmic. Kunle Afolayan's ‘The Figurine' allows you to conjecture what is happening with the serial prosperity followed by serial tragedies as happened in the film.

Up until the end, the attribution of the mystery to the figurine remains debatable. The scientific minded would say they are mere coincidences. If the film is watched in the downtown cinema of our growing up days which had more rowdy audiences, you could picture the hot arguments that will erupt between teenage friends on their way out as the lights come on. That is the purpose of art: engendering debate.

Also the false ending or twist in the tale of ‘Anchor Baby' is totally unpredictable from the beginning, unlike in Nollywood where any eight-year-old aficionado will tell you what is to happen by merely seeing Patience Ozokwor, Kanayo Kanayo, or Jim Iyke's character.
Being too loquacious, as if one were using an audio medium, has been the bane of Nollywood. In the quartet under review, one could see glimpses of how it should be done without the need to preach too much.

In directing, our quartet is many notches above Nollywood standard. This is notwithstanding the limited experience of Lonzo Nzekwe (‘Anchor Baby'). Only in ‘Inale' could one see a bit of the corruptive influence of Nollywood in the perfunctorily executed wrestling scenes.

Also, the dialogues and romantic scene featuring Odeh (Hakeem Kae Kazim) and Inale (Caroline Chikezie) before the wrestling seem to kill the suspense and make the outcome of the contest predictable - more like working towards the answer. The director, Jeta Amata, cannot be excused his playful treatment of the wrestling scenes on account of the film being a musical. His approach seems to be that of merely dramatising the story being told by Cameron Prozman's character to his granddaughter. This is faulty.
In ‘Titanic', which uses the same technique of flashback, the film takes a life of its own and sucks the audience so much into the "now" as to forget it is only a flashback. Notwithstanding this minor flaw, ‘Inale' still blazes a quality trail in its genre with the fragrance of Bongos Ikwue's songwriting prowess redolent throughout it.

Across borders
With the exception of ‘The Figurine', the other members of the quartet all benefited from cross border collaborations in set design, location, cast, crew and post-production. If they are that good, it stands to reason that collaboration is the way to go. There has to be a trans-Atlantic handshake for Nollywood to up its game. Nollywood collabos have been too fixated on merely showing that an Oyinbo face or London street was captured. The budgets obviously could not carry quality actors in the collaborating countries.
As for the Ghanaian actors in Nollywood, they cannot uplift any standards because they don't have any higher or better film culture to draw from. Those of them that have broken into Nollywood's A-list have no choice but to conform to Nollywood. Inale's casting of Hakeem Kae Kazim and Caroline Chikezie in lead roles was a well-executed move that surely rubbed off on the musical's overall rating. Though Nigerians by birth, both had made their marks in advanced film cultures and were known faces internationally. ‘Anchor Baby' also had Terri Oliver. Nollywood's casting directors must in future cast their nets wide enough to incorporate off-shore, top-rated actors to enhance the universal acceptance of their stories and movies.

In this, maybe they could borrow a leaf from national football where being foreign-based has its benefits; but film has no laws against the nationality of the players you can use.

Offshore, Onshore
However, off-shore collaboration in acting roles should not be confused with feeding our inferiority complex. It is not necessarily because our A-list actors are not good enough. Neither is it about having a white face or American accent. Film is a worldwide medium and these off-shore actors bring cross-cultural credibility to the story.

But apart from shopping off-shore, there is a slew of talents waiting to be challenged in the nascent Nigerian theatre and Nigerian non-Nollywood constituencies, including Kannywood, the Northern movie market. Nollywood and the Nigerian stage have had only limited symbiosis. Nothing prevents the new cinema from going a-fishing in the stage pond. Dede Mabiaku gave a good account of himself in ‘Inale'.

Before the ink on this piece could dry, two other big screen flicks with Nigerian, nay Nollywood, inputs hit the cinemas. ‘Between Kings And Queens' was made by ex-Nollywood practitioner, Joy Dickson, and stars Jim Iyke while ‘Champion of our Time' comes with a full cast of Nollywood stars including Joke Silva, Segun Arinze, Ejike Asiegbu, etc. Given our zest for following trends, one should expect a hurricane in Nigerian cinema films in 2011. It remains to be seen whether Nollywood is merely re-inventing itself or a totally different movement is being born.

Tighten your seat belts everybody!

Mike Ekunno is a staff of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).
Nigeria Movie Network!
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Nollywood and Gollywood Film-makers to talk peace

by NMN (Staff) / 720 Views

An interesting Nollywood trend that caught our eyes in matters relating to the growing African film industry is that of Nollywood film-makers (Nigeria) and Gollywood film-makers (Ghana), whom have been experiencing disagreements for quite some time.

Ghana and Nigeria relations

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