Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

Nollywood – Africa’s Movie Making Machine

Early Nollywood Movies

From humble beginnings in the middle of the 20th century, the Nigerian movie industry (or Nollywood as it is often called) has come a long way. As would be expected, movie making in Africa in the 60s was no mean feat. Film making technology across the world was still in its early stages. If the equipment was difficult to setup in other parts of the world, in Nigeria, the equipment was virtually non-existent. Change started when the government of Nigeria begun to pressure local television and radio stations to broadcast more local content and less foreign productions. A direct result of this was the honing of local actors skills.

Turning Point For Nollywood Films

In the 80s, Nollywood continued on its growth path. However, it was not until 1992 that the industry experienced a turning point. In that year, what many consider as Nollywood’s first blockbuster was released. The film known as ‘Living in Bondage’ was a watershed moment for Nigerian filmmakers. It received acclaim and achieved reasonable wide distribution. After this, the industry picked up momentum as the number of film production houses went up.

Present Day Nollywood Movie Industry

Today, the impact of Nollywood on the African film making industry has been phenomenal. With a passionate following outside Nigeria in such countries as South Africa, Zambia, and Kenya, Nollywood movies have grown in stature. The actors have acted as Nigeria’s unofficial ambassadors and become household names across the continent. With an estimated income of anything from USD 250 million to USD 500 million, many producers and actors alike have become fabulously wealthy as a result.

Nollywood Movie Technique

Nigerian movies have a number of things going for them and that can be picked out as the factors that have led to its success. The first is the low budget. Unlike Hollywood and even Bollywood films that sometimes require millions of dollars to produce, Nigerian movies require much less. It is not surprising to find out that the total cost of producing a certain movie is less than USD 50,000. The second point, which is related to the first, is the high number of films churned each year. The total number of Nollywood movies released in any given year is between 1,000 and 2,000: a large number by any measure.

A third key success factor is the story line. With themes ranging from religion, marriage, traditions, and politics, the movies are able to strike a chord with audiences across the continent. A typical Hollywood movie would find this market a hard sell as the content and theme of the moves are sometimes very difficult for the average African resident to relate to.

Cost of the Finished Nigerian Movie Product

Finally, there is the cost of the final product. A Nigerian movie costs USD 2 on the continent. Compare that with the cost of at least USD 20 and sometimes up to USD 50 for an American movie on disk. With some Africa countries having less than 50 per cent of the country living on less than a dollar per day, the pool that can but the film at that price is small.

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