|UNESCO has adjudged the Nigerian film industry, dubbed Nollywood, the second largest in the world.According to a UNESCO report last year, Nollywood makes about 2,400 films per year, putting it ahead of the US, but behind India.
A new festival, Nollywood Now, is set to take place in London from 6-12 October, and its chief aim is to draw wider attention to the success and popularity the films enjoy across Europe, and particularly the UK.
Nigerian filmmakers tend to operate in a fast and furious manner, with shoots rarely lasting longer than two weeks.
They almost always use cheap digital equipment and the average budget is about 15,000 dollars.
The finished products often don’t land up in cinemas and are instead sold directly to the “man on the street” for about 1.50 dollars.
Most films shift between 25,000 and 50,000 copies globally – although a blockbuster can easily sell up to 200,000.
Nollywood Now’s creative director, Phoenix Fry, said for all of their populist appeal, Nigerian films are very rooted in local concerns.
“Many of the films have looked at how traditional beliefs co-exist with Islam and Christianity, Nigeria’s main religions,” the Guardian quoted him as saying.
“The storytelling is so good. Nigerian filmmakers really know how to entertain their audiences.
“They’ve studied the populist genres from other countries – Bollywood musicals, low-budget horror and Brazilian soap operas, for example – and reworked these to appeal to anyone with a love of drama,” he revealed.
Nigerian director and producer, Ade Adepegba, whose feature film ‘Water Has No Enemy’, explores corruption in his native country, said nostalgia is what makes these movies so popular.
“Nigerians are the largest group of Africans living in the UK, and the majority of them live in London,” he said.
“Nigerian films still hold their strongest appeal to first generation immigrants who feel a deep attachment to their homeland.
“So, at the moment nostalgia is the main reason for the appeal of Nollywood,” he added.
Adepegba believes that widening its scope will serve Nollywood well in the long term, and that the industry should make films with deeper social and artistic values. (ANI)