The No-Nonsense Guide to Global Media
In the No-Nonsense Guide to Global Media I wrote briefly about the dynamic video-film scene in Nigeria. Hundreds and now thousands of very low-budget fiction films are being made in the business capital, Lagos. The productions get made quickly, using digital video cameras. Almost none use studios or even sets—they’re all shot in streets, music clubs, or houses. The films quickly gained wide popularity, some selling many thousands of copies on DVD for home viewing. So many people have jumped into the game that the phenomenon is now dubbed Nollywood.
Since 2005 Nollywood productions have broken beyond Nigeria’s borders to all of sub-Saharan Africa and to Nigerian diasporas everywhere. A feature article on Nollywood’s business success in Britain’s The Economist for 16 December 2010, titled ‘Lights, Camera, Africa’, even claims that these films have overtaken music as the cultural force in Africa.
This, surely is an exaggeration. Nevertheless, the industry’s phenomenal growth now fuels bigger budgets, recognizable stars, and more stable production companies. Some other African countries see Nollywood as a cultural threat, but Nigeria’s filmmaking model serves as an example ripe with possibilities.