Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Phenomenon of Nollywood in Film Studies

The sociocultural phenomenon of Nollywood, the video film industry in Nigeria known for guerrilla filmmaking has attracted foreign journalists, film scholars and students even before the coinage of the name "Nollywood" by the New York Times in 2002.

Nollywood rebranded the global image of Nigeria by showing the amazing creativity and ingenuity of Nigerians who started the first revolution in independent filmmaking in Africa with no-budget or Bootstrap budget home videos of Nigerian drama.
The first home video hit movie, "Living in Bondage" that was released in 1992 has been erroneously called the inaugural Nollywood movie by many foreign journalists and scholars who did not do enough research before publishing their reports and were ignorant of the home videos of Yoruba and Hausa producers .
Following the success of "Living in Bondage",  the National Film and Video Censors Board was set up by Act No.85 of 1993 to regulate the production of the home videos.

One of the first books to study these intriguing home videos is "Nigerian Video Films" edited by Prof. Jonathan Haynes and published in 2000 when the name of Nollywood never existed. Haynes has noted that the generalisation of the Nigerian video film industry as "Nollywood" obscured the Hausa language genre popularly known as "Kannywood" , a coinage that was formed before Nollywood.  Haynes called Nollywood, the Lagos based Nigerian film industry in "Nollywood in Lagos, Lagos in Nollywood Films" published in 2007 by Project MUSE on

Femi Odugbemi and Jonathan Haynes.

The best documentary films on Nollywood are the following: "Welcome to Nollywood", 2007 directed by Jamie Meltzer and produced by Michael Cayce Lindner featuring Izu Ojukwu, Chico Ejiro, Don Pedro Obaseki, Charles Novia, Shan George, Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima, Tunde Kelani , J.T. Tom West, Richard Mofe Damijo, Francis Duru and others.
Click here to view the video on Amazon.

"This is Nollywood", 2007 by Franco Sacchi and Robert Caputo; following Nollywood filmmaker, Bond Emeruwa as he went about shooting "a feature-length action film in less than 9 days" with only US$20,000. Read more about it on

"Nollywood Babylon", 2008, by Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal and produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
Click here to view the video.
It followed Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen on the production of "Bent Arrows", which he later released in 2010. The documentary featured "Aki and Pawpaw" duo of Osita Iheme and Chinedu Ikedieze, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Uche Jumbo, Kenneth Okonkwo and Bob-Manuel Udokwu.
“The business of filmmaking is about making money and making statements,” Lancelot. Noting Steven Spielberg’s ability to “penetrate the whole world.
“Americans have been able to colonize the world through music and movies, especially movies,” he adds. “Art is a form of communication.” It’s not lost on Lancelot that 80 million people watch Nollywood flicks. And that he and his fellow Africans—not Westerners—have the power to shape society in their own image.
Nollywood Babylon | Film Review | Slant Magazine 
See more in "Documentaries on Nollywood: Nollywood Babylon » Nollywood" on

Dr.Femi Shaka, Professor of Film Studies, Dept of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria has done a lot on Nollywood.

Accomplished multiple award winning Nigerian filmmaker and Cofounder/Festival Director of the annual iREPRESENT International Documentary Film Festival, Femi Odugbemi who was the focus of two American universities last year 2017, said studies on Nollywood are important to many American scholars and students.
“Are westerners interested in Nollywood? I would say a big YES! The Nollywood Study Group in Northwestern University is a serious inter-disciplinary collective. And it is well-funded. The work of early researchers of Nollywood like Professors Jonathan Haynes, Okome Onookome, and contemporary scholars like Professor Paul Ugor, of Illinois State University are bearing good fruit. Books have been published that connect Nollywood to social engineering and has legitimised its intervention as representative of the archiving of Africa’s contemporary or urban cultures. So, Nollywood Studies is serious business globally now.”
You can read important articles on
"How Nollywood Redefined Conversations on African Cinema and Culture" | IndieWire
"Nollywood Associations Without Libraries: What A Shame"

"The Nollywood Phenomenon: From Analog to Digital" | IndieWire">
Amazon is the best place to get all the books on Nollywood.

~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Publisher/Editor of the NOLLYWOOD MIRROR®Series

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