Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Nollywood and the French Connection


Nollywood and the French Connection

The emergence of Nollywood, the phenomenal Nigerian video film industry which is the largest in the world by the production of home videos has generated diverse interests and pursuits in many reports and studies since the New York Times coined the name “Nollywood” in 2002. But many people are ignorant of the important and significant role played by the French government before the support of other foreign governments and even before the financial support of the Nigerian government in the sustainable development of Nollywood.

The leading filmmakers whose films have contributed to the global phenomenon of Nollywood have been supported with grants from the Fonds Images Afrique of the Cooperation and Cultural Action Department in the French Embassy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France.
Majority of them are notable members of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) when Monsieur Pierre Barrot was the Regional Cultural Attaché in charge of audiovisual media in the French Embassy in Nigeria (2002-2006). He had a good official rapport with the association and got the financial support of the French government. He saw the making of Nollywood which he gave his eyewitness accounts in Nollywood: The Video Phenomenon in Nigeria, one of the first books on Nollywood he coauthored and co edited, published by the Indiana University Press in February 16, 2009.

Monsieur Pierre Barrot.

“Excellent, attractive, and valuable . . . the phenomenon has become so huge and the videos have spread so widely in Africa and elsewhere that they have begun to attract a good deal of attention. This book is a superb introduction to the subject.”
~ Prof. Jonathan Haynes, Long Island University.

Accomplished filmmakers who benefited from the Fonds Images Afrique have been noted in “Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics”, published in 2011 by Prof. Akinwumi Adesokan, Nollywood: The Creation of Nigerian Film Genres, published in 2016 by Prof. Jonathan Haynes, the leading academic authority on Nollywood and in Nollywood Central  published in 2016 by Jade L. Miller.


They produced TV series and features from 2003 to 2009.
“Our husband Has Gone Mad Again” TV series by Albert Egbe of ITPAN.
“The Narrow Path” TV series (adapted from "The Virgin", a novel written by Bayo Adebowale) by Tunde Kelani of ITPAN.
“Claws of the Lion” feature film by Francis Onwochei of ITPAN.
“Tides of Fate” TV series by Greg Odutayo of ITPAN.
“Eternal” feature film and “Off Campus” TV series by Chikeh Ibekwe of ITPAN.
“The Head of State” TV series by Jimi Odumosu.
“Changing Faces” feature film by Faruk Lasaki of ITPAN.
“Relentless” feature film by Andy Amadi Okoroafor.


Faruk Lasaki’s metaphysical romantic drama, “Changing Faces” became the first major Nigerian movie to be dubbed in French for commercial distribution in France and francophone countries. The New York Film Academy (NYFA) graduate actually began the screenplay as his NYFA thesis. “Changing Faces” premiered at the Pavillion les Cinema Du Sud of the 61st Cannes Film Festival, screened at the 2008 Black Diaspora International Film Festival of New York, in competition at the 2009 Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), in Official Selection at the 2009 Cairo International Film Festival and the opening film of the 2011 annual Eko International Film Festival in Lagos, Nigeria.

 Chike Ibekwe’s “Eternal” was co-winner of the Golden Screen best film award with “An Unusual Woman” by Burkinabe director Abdoulaye Dao at the 14th Ecrans Noirs Film Festval in Yaoundé, Cameroun. And he became one of the heads of the Jury at the 15th Ecrans Noirs Film Festival from June 18-25, 2011, in Yaoundé, Cameroun.



Andy Amadi Okoroafor’s “Relentless” was released in 2010;  starring popular Nollywood actor, Gideon Okeke, famous Nigerian singer, Nneka Egbuna and notable African American actor, Jimmy Jean-Louis. It premiered on October 13, 2010 at the BFI London Film Festival with positive reviews for the cinematography and soundtrack.
Prof. Jonathan Haynes has a review of the film on https://muse.jhu.edu/article/486282/pdf


- By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Publisher/Editor, Publisher/Editor
NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series
http://www.indiewire.com/author/michael-chima-ekenyerengozi/ https://www.amazon.com/author/ekenyerengozimichaelchima.

@247nigeria

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