CNN.com: What's Next for Nollywood?

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wendydoks

Well-Known Member
#21
They are Nigerian filmmakers, but they are not part of Nollywood.

I've long noticed that people have a habit of confusing the two... Like calling people like Chiwetel Ejiofor and David Owolowo "Nollywood actors." No, they are Nigerian actors (or actors of Nigerian heritage) but they don't live or work in Nigeria, and they are not part of the local Nigerian film industry any more than someone like Sade Adu is part of the Nigerian music scene.

"Nollywood" primarily refers to the local industry revolving around home videos. Sure, of late the industry has been expanding into theatrical exhibition (see, moviewizard? evolution IS happening!) but the primary mode of distribution is still VCD.

But even beyond the means of distribution, I think one of the defining features of Nollywood is that it is primarily a commerce-driven industry while what these "independents" are doing seems to be more art-driven to a degree. Nwanguma in particular puts a lot of emphasis on the message of his work where Nollywood would typically put the focus on entertainment value.

I mean, I haven't seen The Mirror Boy so I don't know what the tone of that piece is... Emelonye at least uses a few star actors associated with the Nollywood mainstream, so I would probably be more inclined to consider his work as being an organic outgrowth of Nollywood.

Still, the heavy concern with getting into film festivals in particular just sounds anti-Nollywood to me. That is virtually the opposite of everything that Nollywood has defined itself as up to this point.
ofcos dey r not nollywood actors. i am not sure why pple wud mistake that. they prolly never knew dem prior.

really, i am curious, why is dt?

btw the director of mirror boy is def a nollywood director. that movie even got nominated for an AMMA if i am not mistaken. and everything abt it spells nollywood. i am not sure why u r insisting dt he isnt.

areaboys, honestly, we can argue abt this director being a nollywood product. what he did is no diff from what chineze did with ije. his just didnt go on vcd. he used nollywood actors (altho not known, i say new faces) who speak nigerian pidgin. has elements of nollywood in it. i think the whole prob here is the whole festival thing. whats the beef? cos i wanna know.
 

wendydoks

Well-Known Member
#22
They are Nigerian filmmakers, but they are not part of Nollywood.

"Nollywood" primarily refers to the local industry revolving around home videos. Sure, of late the industry has been expanding into theatrical exhibition (see, moviewizard? evolution IS happening!) but the primary mode of distribution is still VCD.

.
i dont know, mana u might wanna give me anoda definition cos that can go so many ways. i mean, its that vague. because i really believe that your sole definition of nollywood movie makers is by their geographical location of practice. has absolutely nothing to do with homevideos or film festivals. i guess chineze anyaene is ????
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#24
i dont know, mana u might wanna give me anoda definition cos that can go so many ways. i mean, its that vague. because i really believe that your sole definition of nollywood movie makers is by their geographical location of practice. has absolutely nothing to do with homevideos or film festivals. i guess chineze anyaene is ????
Okay... I'll take a shot at this. It's a bit difficult to define exactly what Nollywood is and why it is, but let's attempt to analyze it:

Why did "Nollywood" become such a sensation that garnered so much success across the continent and attention around the world over the past 10 to 15 years? After all, this was not the first time that Africans had made movies... Filmmakers from Francophone African countries like Senegal, Mali, Cameroon and Burkina Faso in particular had been for years making movies--my bad, films--that screened in film festivals across Europe and the United States and garnered praise from high-minded critics and were studied by serious academics.

However, the films of these Francophone directors often remained unknown to their fellow countrymen and in a lot of cases were never even screened in their lands of origin! Apart from the fact that they were shot on celluloid, which made it difficult to exhibit them in countries where they didn't have a lot of movie theaters, the movies often felt like they were not made with an African audience in mind. They were usually financed with grants from European arts bodies and were produced primarily to meet the expectations of a certain European art-inclined audience.

What made Nollywood different:

1. Mode of distribution: The direct-to-video distribution model sidestepped the problem caused by lack of theaters and brought the movies directly into African homes
2. Focus on plot-driven populist entertainment as opposed to more intellectually rigorous material: Before Nollywood, the general perception of what constituted "African film" was usually languid, atmospheric tone poems that were light on plot and characterization
3. Commercialism: This is, in my opinion, probably the most important defining feature of Nollywood.

Before Nollywood, African films were not expected to make money for anybody. They were mostly funded by non-governmental organizations that looked at the support of these productions as a charitable patronage of struggling artists.

But Nollywood was not forged by artists or non-governmental organizations. Nollywood was created by businessmen. By Igbo electronics sellers who got into it not for the prestige of creating beautiful works of art or uplifting their culture, but because they felt it was a way to make money. And that has remained the fundamental motivation of Nollywood... making money.

For all the acclaim the Nigerian movie industry has garnered over the past few years, Nigerian movies still are quite underrepresented at international film festivals. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is the fact that Nollywood producers tend to not be that interested in submitting their movies to festivals. You know why? Because festival exhibition does not make them any money. It's considered a big waste of time and is widely ridiculed and even discouraged within Nollywood circles.

That's why I said that the deep interest in festival representation is probably the single most un-Nollywood thing you can talk about.

I hope that makes it clearer for you... (I have much more I could say about all this but I fear I am already rambling too much!)
 

moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#25
When i said that "nollywood" has been doing badly of recent, i excluded the big movies showing on big screen, like TS had mentioned in some other thread, i dont want to refer to that as nollywood" per se since they dont have the same inclinations with the average nollywood producer. I mean the nollywood peeps like Teco Benson who tried showing their films at the cinema (his latest work High blood pressure) but it didnt work. He posted on facebook and a release that the movie would be shown at the cinemas, but after a premiere it never did and thats to show that even nollywood mainstream peeps do desire for a change, but they just lack the basic "know how" of how to pull it off like the "new guys" do. Asides Emem Isong, name one nollywood producer who has been making movies that people like to an extent. The Dickson Ireogbus that used to shine back then, where is he? what last movie did he make? where is Charles Novia? T chidi isnt even constant as he used to, has he released a work after that Omotola/Tonto/Majid movie? Thats my point when i said the "mainstream nollywood" (as i'd like to put it) hasnt been doing so well of recent, it would be nice to see it wake up and back to action and while they are doing their things as usual in the sideline, the "new nigerian film-makers" are also churning out great works......

Now i dont consider, Chineze, Kunle Afolayan, Mahmood Ali Balogun part of the mainstream nollywood i described, thats for the Tchidi's, Dickson, Charles Novia and thats the one i said hasn't been doing well of recent like it did slightly before the "infamous" ban of Genny et al.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#26
Now i dont consider, Chineze, Kunle Afolayan, Mahmood Ali Balogun part of the mainstream nollywood i described, thats for the Tchidi's, Dickson, Charles Novia and thats the one i said hasn't been doing well of recent like it did slightly before the "infamous" ban of Genny et al.
I agree... And frankly, For now I don't think we can seriously start rating the whole theatrical thing as a permanent feature of Nollywood or a strong avenue to Nollywood's future. I mean, how many theaters do we even have in Nigeria at this point? Three? Four? Five? A very, very small fraction of the audience has access to theatrical screenings so VCD remains the primary mode of consumption for Nollywood movies... For now, the theatrical thing is just an experiment, if not a fad.
 

moviewizard

Well-Known Member
#27
I agree... And frankly, For now I don't think we can seriously start rating the whole theatrical thing as a permanent feature of Nollywood or a strong avenue to Nollywood's future. I mean, how many theaters do we even have in Nigeria at this point? Three? Four? Five? A very, very small fraction of the audience has access to theatrical screenings so VCD remains the primary mode of consumption for Nollywood movies... For now, the theatrical thing is just an experiment, if not a fad.
I agree. I told someone too that the cinema thing would only really begin to draw more film makers once we have at least 20-30 cinemas. What we have in Nigeria is like 6. 3 in lagos, two in abuja and one or two in port-harcourt.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#28
I agree. I told someone too that the cinema thing would only really begin to draw more film makers once we have at least 20-30 cinemas. What we have in Nigeria is like 6. 3 in lagos, two in abuja and one or two in port-harcourt.
Oh, the number is even more than I thought sef... I didn't realize that there were two in Abuja. And as far as I know, there's still only one in PH. It still leaves a massive portion of the country without access to screenings. You're right... When we can boast of at least one cinema in every state, then we can start talking about the theater as a major feature of Nollywood... and that would just be a *start* really.
 
#30
A lot of what you say has truth to it but I think you are being too harsh on these guys. For one, in interviews, both the execs of GDC and Silverbird cinemas have said they turn down Nigerian movies from showing all the time for quality issues. Though I don't buy this. It sounds like bullocks. Some of the movies from the Nigerians in Diaspora, they show, look like crap too. They just know it won't make money.
Secondly, it's the access to funds that makes it tough to open at the cinema. Promotion costs are expensive. Where do you get the money? You need sponsors. They are difficult to get. It's not rocket science to open a movie. They are not morons. the success of these movies you mention is a hefty promotion that the average Nigerian producer cannot provide. You need the corporates to back the release particularly with hefty tv advertising. If Silverbird chooses to buy, market and release the crappiest movie, it will do business too. I'm just saying. It's not that simple.
 

Sola

Administrator
Staff member
#31
Now i dont consider, Chineze, Kunle Afolayan, Mahmood Ali Balogun part of the mainstream nollywood i described...
I disagree with you though...
I agree... And frankly, For now I don't think we can seriously start rating the whole theatrical thing as a permanent feature of Nollywood or a strong avenue to Nollywood's future.
Fad or not, it is a part of Nollywood. The way I see it, some video film makers have always considered themselves peripheral to nollywood, but the fact is they are either merely extensions or natural progression of it, which makes them still a part of it. Chineze may pretend she's not Nollywood, but by depending on Nollywood star-power and screening her movie in theatres in Nigeria to capitalise on the audience Nollywood cultivated for the past two decades, she has become an extension of it. Kunle Afolayan has never been mainstream Nollywood in the true sense of it, but i doubt he alienates himself like that. He's just putting more polish into the technical aspect of the movies, that's all. And his support crew, from Aleja down have all done Nollywood peripherally. Mahmoud Alli-Balogun has been there from the beginning too. He started at NTA too. He's always identified with Nollywood, just a little more demanding than the powers that be in the industry, that's all.

As for the theatres, if we don't start considering them an aspect of the future of Nollywood, what would they be? The guys who invested heavily in it did not do it for some altruistic reasons. They saw where Nollywood had gaps and they chose to fill those niches, no more. They met a need Nollywood grew, though it did not create it.
 

Sola

Administrator
Staff member
#32
Secondly, it's the access to funds that makes it tough to open at the cinema.
Hmm...I thought the fact that our home videos are shot in multiple parts is the most inhibiting problem? I mean how do you screen a movie in 4 parts? But you have a point though. Promotion would be killing. There's also the fact that we don't pace for theatrical screening. We pace for chill-out with the remote control-pause-take a whole day to watch one movie kind of screening.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#33
A lot of what you say has truth to it but I think you are being too harsh on these guys. For one, in interviews, both the execs of GDC and Silverbird cinemas have said they turn down Nigerian movies from showing all the time for quality issues. Though I don't buy this. It sounds like bullocks. Some of the movies from the Nigerians in Diaspora, they show, look like crap too. They just know it won't make money.
Secondly, it's the access to funds that makes it tough to open at the cinema. Promotion costs are expensive. Where do you get the money? You need sponsors. They are difficult to get. It's not rocket science to open a movie. They are not morons. the success of these movies you mention is a hefty promotion that the average Nigerian producer cannot provide. You need the corporates to back the release particularly with hefty tv advertising. If Silverbird chooses to buy, market and release the crappiest movie, it will do business too. I'm just saying. It's not that simple.
Well, that's not necessarily true... There are movies that Silverbird has picked up that didn't do business, but that's not even the point here.

The issue is not about the rigor of Silverbrd's selection process or their reasons for accepting or not accepting any particular movie. Even if Silverbird were to run EVERY Nigerian movie presented to them, regardless of quality, we'd still be facing the problem that there are theaters in only THREE Nigerian cities. We'd be back to where we were in the early 1980s when Nigerian movies were being made, but people in most of the country just plain had no access to them, no opportunity to see them... Meanwhile, the miracle of Nollywood was the fact that it (for all intents and purposes) brought Nigerian movies to audiences across the country--and beyond--without tears. That's why I've always said Nollywood was a revolution of distribution, rather than an artistic revolution.

So if we're talking about theaters being the future of Nollywood, that's fine... There are a lot of reasons why VCD/DVD distribution could be viewed as a dead end at this point. But until an evening at the theater is within the reach of the mass of Nigerians (both geographically and financially) then we're hustling backwards to an older model that just didn't work.

Sure, it's possible for the producers to even make their money back just from the botas in Lag, Abuja and PH who will go to the theater, but we're missing that cross-national, simultaneous shared experience that made "the Nigerian movie industry" into "Nollywood." We're back to where we were when I was a kid in the East looking at the ads for Ade Love movies in the Daily Times and desperately wanting to see them but knowing that I would never get the chance to... not even because we didn't have theaters but because these movies were just not going to be shown in my region.
 

takestyle

Well-Known Member
#34
Fad or not, it is a part of Nollywood. The way I see it, some video film makers have always considered themselves peripheral to nollywood, but the fact is they are either merely extensions or natural progression of it, which makes them still a part of it. Chineze may pretend she's not Nollywood, but by depending on Nollywood star-power and screening her movie in theatres in Nigeria to capitalise on the audience Nollywood cultivated for the past two decades, she has become an extension of it.
Does Chineze pretend to not be Nollywood? Because I definitely believe she is... Or if anything, it's the inverse: she's not *really* Nollywood per se, but she adopted certain trappings to pretend that she is!

But really, I don't know much anything about IJE but what is clear to me is that despite its higher budget and more meticulous production value, it was produced with the clear primary intent to tap into the Nigerian market, the Nollywood market. So in that way, yes... It is a big-budget Nollywood film. Ditto Mildred Okwo's 30 Days.

Afolayan, for various reasons that it is difficult for me to quantify at this moment, I do not consider to be part of Nollywood, alas. Let me think a little bit and figure out a way to verbalize it.

Sola said:
As for the theatres, if we don't start considering them an aspect of the future of Nollywood, what would they be? The guys who invested heavily in it did not do it for some altruistic reasons. They saw where Nollywood had gaps and they chose to fill those niches, no more. They met a need Nollywood grew, though it did not create it.
The theaters were not built with the primary intention of showing Nollywood movies, though. Even today, I seriously question Silverbird's interest in showing homegrown content at all despite the lip service of throwing up the occasional Nigerian movie up there to pacify critics.

I mean, now that movies like Ije and The Figurine have done a little box office, they might have perked up a bit to the possibilities, but at the end of the day, Silverbird is much more invested in showing the new Adam Sandler movie than in promoting Nigerian cinema.
 
#35
Well, that's not necessarily true... There are movies that Silverbird has picked up that didn't do business, but that's not even the point here.

The issue is not about the rigor of Silverbrd's selection process or their reasons for accepting or not accepting any particular movie. Even if Silverbird were to run EVERY Nigerian movie presented to them, regardless of quality, we'd still be facing the problem that there are theaters in only THREE Nigerian cities. We'd be back to where we were in the early 1980s when Nigerian movies were being made, but people in most of the country just plain had no access to them, no opportunity to see them... Meanwhile, the miracle of Nollywood was the fact that it (for all intents and purposes) brought Nigerian movies to audiences across the country--and beyond--without tears. That's why I've always said Nollywood was a revolution of distribution, rather than an artistic revolution.

So if we're talking about theaters being the future of Nollywood, that's fine... There are a lot of reasons why VCD/DVD distribution could be viewed as a dead end at this point. But until an evening at the theater is within the reach of the mass of Nigerians (both geographically and financially) then we're hustling backwards to an older model that just didn't work.

Sure, it's possible for the producers to even make their money back just from the botas in Lag, Abuja and PH who will go to the theater, but we're missing that cross-national, simultaneous shared experience that made "the Nigerian movie industry" into "Nollywood." We're back to where we were when I was a kid in the East looking at the ads for Ade Love movies in the Daily Times and desperately wanting to see them but knowing that I would never get the chance to... not even because we didn't have theaters but because these movies were just not going to be shown in my region.
I agree with everything you said. But I am saying you can do both. You can distribute in cinemas and then send it to video. The Ghanaians do it. All major movies in Ghana have a one week or two week cinema run, then off to video.

Also, as a producer, you have to make the shift towards the cinema. The revenue potential is just way higher than releasing straight to video. After the cinema run, you can still release it to video but the cinema has to be your primary market. It's inevitable. And they have to adapt or they will be pushed out by new players.
 

NTB

Well-Known Member
#36
very soon, being on CNN would not be a big thing for Nigerians! lolol
CNN.com and CNN the news channel no be the same thing abeg :teu26: I can see the okro mouths coming so make una come cause am equal to the task. I can haul it and take it too :roll
 

wendydoks

Well-Known Member
#37
When i said that "nollywood" has been doing badly of recent, i excluded the big movies showing on big screen, like TS had mentioned in some other thread, i dont want to refer to that as nollywood" per se since they dont have the same inclinations with the average nollywood producer. I mean the nollywood peeps like Teco Benson who tried showing their films at the cinema (his latest work High blood pressure) but it didnt work. He posted on facebook and a release that the movie would be shown at the cinemas, but after a premiere it never did and thats to show that even nollywood mainstream peeps do desire for a change, but they just lack the basic "know how" of how to pull it off like the "new guys" do. Asides Emem Isong, name one nollywood producer who has been making movies that people like to an extent. The Dickson Ireogbus that used to shine back then, where is he? what last movie did he make? where is Charles Novia? T chidi isnt even constant as he used to, has he released a work after that Omotola/Tonto/Majid movie? Thats my point when i said the "mainstream nollywood" (as i'd like to put it) hasnt been doing so well of recent, it would be nice to see it wake up and back to action and while they are doing their things as usual in the sideline, the "new nigerian film-makers" are also churning out great works......

Now i dont consider, Chineze, Kunle Afolayan, Mahmood Ali Balogun part of the mainstream nollywood i described, thats for the Tchidi's, Dickson, Charles Novia and thats the one i said hasn't been doing well of recent like it did slightly before the "infamous" ban of Genny et al.
this is what i dont like. THIS. this is why in your mind, you think nollywood isnt progressing. because you take away from it. any director t hat does a hit movie is automatically labeled a non nollywood. and for every that is deemed mediocre is plASterd nollywood. where in ya genius mind do u put someone like izu ojukwu? carry go.
 

wendydoks

Well-Known Member
#38
Okay... I'll take a shot at this. It's a bit difficult to define exactly what Nollywood is and why it is, but let's attempt to analyze it:

Why did "Nollywood" become such a sensation that garnered so much success across the continent and attention around the world over the past 10 to 15 years? After all, this was not the first time that Africans had made movies... Filmmakers from Francophone African countries like Senegal, Mali, Cameroon and Burkina Faso in particular had been for years making movies--my bad, films--that screened in film festivals across Europe and the United States and garnered praise from high-minded critics and were studied by serious academics.

However, the films of these Francophone directors often remained unknown to their fellow countrymen and in a lot of cases were never even screened in their lands of origin! Apart from the fact that they were shot on celluloid, which made it difficult to exhibit them in countries where they didn't have a lot of movie theaters, the movies often felt like they were not made with an African audience in mind. They were usually financed with grants from European arts bodies and were produced primarily to meet the expectations of a certain European art-inclined audience.

What made Nollywood different:

1. Mode of distribution: The direct-to-video distribution model sidestepped the problem caused by lack of theaters and brought the movies directly into African homes
2. Focus on plot-driven populist entertainment as opposed to more intellectually rigorous material: Before Nollywood, the general perception of what constituted "African film" was usually languid, atmospheric tone poems that were light on plot and characterization
3. Commercialism: This is, in my opinion, probably the most important defining feature of Nollywood.

Before Nollywood, African films were not expected to make money for anybody. They were mostly funded by non-governmental organizations that looked at the support of these productions as a charitable patronage of struggling artists.

But Nollywood was not forged by artists or non-governmental organizations. Nollywood was created by businessmen. By Igbo electronics sellers who got into it not for the prestige of creating beautiful works of art or uplifting their culture, but because they felt it was a way to make money. And that has remained the fundamental motivation of Nollywood... making money.

For all the acclaim the Nigerian movie industry has garnered over the past few years, Nigerian movies still are quite underrepresented at international film festivals. There are a number of reasons for this, but the main one is the fact that Nollywood producers tend to not be that interested in submitting their movies to festivals. You know why? Because festival exhibition does not make them any money. It's considered a big waste of time and is widely ridiculed and even discouraged within Nollywood circles.

That's why I said that the deep interest in festival representation is probably the single most un-Nollywood thing you can talk about.

I hope that makes it clearer for you... (I have much more I could say about all this but I fear I am already rambling too much!)
*sighs*. let me start by appologizing, but i looked @ my quote and u didnt even answer my ?tion. cos u really spent y ou time telling me why interest in film festivals isnt nollywood. kunle has tried unsuccessfully numerous times to have his works played in film festivals, is that what makes him non nollywood? basically, u r sayin dt anyone dt tries to have their works shown in film festivals isnt a nollywood director. sounds silly to me.


and wait, u did answer my ?tion but i am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt that you missed the ?tion. mode of distribution, focus on plot-driven and not intellectual(what an insult) and commeciaLism is w hat differenciates nollywood directors from nigerian film directors and makers? u do kno that all those qualities can be found in both right? in your words, nollywood churns out garbage and nigerian film makers churns out intelligent movies. i hail thee. this is one of the mo st ridiculous thing i have read to date about nollywood. carry on o.
 

wendydoks

Well-Known Member
#39
I agree... And frankly, For now I don't think we can seriously start rating the whole theatrical thing as a permanent feature of Nollywood or a strong avenue to Nollywood's future. I mean, how many theaters do we even have in Nigeria at this point? Three? Four? Five? A very, very small fraction of the audience has access to theatrical screenings so VCD remains the primary mode of consumption for Nollywood movies... For now, the theatrical thing is just an experiment, if not a fad.
i wasnt quite sure of what i am abt to say before now but i can confidently now say that you are a flip flopper. dude, r u serious? wow!
 

wendydoks

Well-Known Member
#40
I disagree with you though...
Fad or not, it is a part of Nollywood. The way I see it, some video film makers have always considered themselves peripheral to nollywood, but the fact is they are either merely extensions or natural progression of it, which makes them still a part of it. Chineze may pretend she's not Nollywood, but by depending on Nollywood star-power and screening her movie in theatres in Nigeria to capitalise on the audience Nollywood cultivated for the past two decades, she has become an extension of it. Kunle Afolayan has never been mainstream Nollywood in the true sense of it, but i doubt he alienates himself like that. He's just putting more polish into the technical aspect of the movies, that's all. And his support crew, from Aleja down have all done Nollywood peripherally. Mahmoud Alli-Balogun has been there from the beginning too. He started at NTA too. He's always identified with Nollywood, just a little more demanding than the powers that be in the industry, that's all.

As for the theatres, if we don't start considering them an aspect of the future of Nollywood, what would they be? The guys who invested heavily in it did not do it for some altruistic reasons. They saw where Nollywood had gaps and they chose to fill those niches, no more. They met a need Nollywood grew, though it did not create it.
u pple r killing me here. can somone define what MAINSTREAM nollywood is before i go crazy here! aint he the same guy that did the fugurine? dt wasnt a nollywood movie? i still havnt seen dt movie btw but from what i infer, nollywood=garbage and mediocre. time and time again, pple use the phrase "by nollywood standard". when a good and well produced movie comes out, pple r quick to differenciate it from nollywood yet they wanna reap from nollywood. i mean, when will all these condescending attitude towards nollywood end? *smh*
 
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