Having grown out of the development of digital film techology of the past two decades, Nollywood is today the world's second largest film industry (second only to the Indian film industry). The name itself comes from a portmanteau of its country of origin, "Nigeria", and "Hollywood" in a similar fashion to that of Bollywood. It has been said that around two hundred home videos (especially DVDs) are churned out of Nigeria every month. While Nigerian cinema has been around for decades, the Nollywood era is a relatively recent development.
Nollywood movies tend to be very long, many discs long in fact! For this reason a film not having a sequel is almost unheard of, a fact that can be very helpful to filmmakers. Films cover a wide array of genres from histories to drama and fantasy and writers may draw inspiration from cultural traditions, religion (particularly clashes between Christianity, Islam and Tribal Paganism, which are prevalent in Nigeria) and Western ideals.
However, even with the advancement of technology the cinematography in general is still dreadfully poor, major complaints being the terrible audio and Special Effect Failure. With about fifty new flicks released each week and sold for a dollar per copy, most of which were shot on location in Lagos, for less than $100,000, reaching print runs up to a million inside of two weeks (after which competing with bootleggers becomes impossible), it's understandable that some producers don't feel a strong need to compete on quality. And this is without even taking into account the high amounts of melodrama, that aren't exactly to everyone's taste.
Nigerian films are sold all over Africa, and normally filmed in English, since it's a good middle-ground for the estimated 1,500 languages spoken across the continent. That's not the only strategy for expanding the potential audience; one director notes that he must have "a known face in each market:" a Kenyan actor to sell the movie in Kenya, a South African to boost appeal in South Africa, and so forth.
The direct-to-video boom eventually led to a Dork Age however, as production degenerated to a "visionless" industry with hordes of wannabe producers wanting to cash in on the then-lucrative industry despite not having a clear idea on the intricacies of cinematography and film production, leading to films with incoherent plots and Special Effects Failures. Adding insult to injury was the rampant piracy in the region which made distribution difficult. This eventually changed for the better with the "New Wave" where production reverted to the traditional theatrical model instead of the cookie-cutter, direct-to-video assembly line prevalent during the video film era. And unlike the latter, Nigerian New Wave films are done at a more professional level with considerably bigger budgets and a longer production time taking months or even years compared to the week-long shooting schedules typical with direct-to-video productions. Themes and narratives in Nigerian New Wave have also changed to consciously cosmopolitan themes rather than the religious propaganda and occultism prevalent in the earlier era.
For a place to watch some Nollywood films see here.
- Ancient Africa
- As the Good Book Says...: Given the extensive Christian influence in Nigeria and several other African countries, this is for the most part to be expected. Conversely, the industry was also criticised for its "excessive" use of occult themes like witchcraft and black magic in their films.
- Arranged Marriage
- Author Tract: A lot of Nollywood films are made as morality tales to align with their religious tastes.
- Deal with the Devil
- Decapitated Army
- Direct to Video: Most common during the video film era as it was far cheaper to produce and distribute than gamble on a full fat theatrical release. A number of New Wave films do get this treatment as well, though they are light-years ahead in terms of production and overall quality.
- Domestic Abuse
- Ending Fatigue
- Kick the Dog
- Large Ham
- Melodrama and how!
- Melodramatic Pause
- No Budget
- No Celebrities Were Harmed (Beyonce & Rihanna)
- No Indoor Voice
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Recurring Riff
- Religion of Evil
- Rule of Drama
- Scare Chord
- Special Effect Failure
- The Power of Friendship
- The Power of Love