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What Is Nollywood?

Nollywood is certainly growing in popularity. But, what exactly is meant with the term ‘Nollywood’? The Nollywood film industry refers to Nigeria’s booming and lucrative film industry. Also known as Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry is believed to produce more than 200 movies a month. The Nollywood cinema scene is often very impressive and is filled with talented actors and brilliant cinematography. It is one of the biggest film production industries in the world.

Nigeria is a beautiful African country on the Gulf of Guinea that has many natural landmarks and wildlife reserves. The Nigerian film industry lets viewers receive a broader understanding of this beautiful country and allows the viewer to become a proud part of its history. Its cinema scene is not only popular among the locals, but many of its films have received acclaim and praise from cinema houses across the globe. Nigerian Movies are full of talent, action, drama and adventure. We take a closer look at the Nollywood film industry and its multitude of critically acclaimed movies.

Nollywood is currently the largest film industry in Africa. It has evolved into an industry with reputable film festivals such as the Africa International Film Festival, Lights Camera Africa and the Abuja International Film Festival. Nigerian films are also screened at international film festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Berlin Film Festivals and the Toronto International Film Festival.

How Did The Nollywood Film Industry Start?

In 1957, “Fincho” became the first Nigerian film to be shot in color. However, after Nigeria’s independence in 1960, more cinema houses were established. It has since then emerged as a fast-growing cultural force all over the continent. The first Nollywood movies were created by historical filmmakers such as Ola Balogun, Hubert Ogunde, Jab Adu, Moses Olayia and Eddie Ugboma. These pioneers of the industry were said to have started the Nollywood film industry in a country full of citizens that looked to Hollywood for their entertainment.

In 1984, “Papa Ajasco” by Wale Adenuga became the first blockbuster, grossing an estimate of 61,000 nairas in three days. This was one of the biggest movie events in the Nigerian era. The cinematic likes of actors such as Hubert Ogunde, Tunde Kelani, Adebayo Salami, Sadiq Daba, Jide Kosoko and Afolabi Adesanya among others, played an important role in shaping the film industry, which is now popularly called Nollywood.

In 2014, the age of modern Cinema houses by The Silverbird Group was launched, which saw an era of modern movies being introduced into the Nollywood film industry. Nollywood movies have since then improved the quality of cinema, and, during the recent years more so than they have ever done before. The language of Nigerian video films (Yoruba) and those of subtitling and dubbing are still popular in the modern era of pop culture. The current era offers various genres including horror, comedy, action, thriller and romantic drama.

Nollywood vs. Bollywood

Nigeria produces on average around 1,000 films a year and is now priced at $5 billion. This means it is in second place behind Bollywood, which is the biggest film industry in the world. After Hollywood, it is the second largest in the world on a per capita basis. Nollywood’s movie industry is the most vibrant in the continent as it puts out thousands of home videos yearly. Nollywood’s growth pattern has been likened to that of the Indians in the sense that both industries have low budget movies in which it is easy to predict the plots and both have a large peer following.

In Bollywood, only half of the movies make it to theatres and these earn little profit or none at all. They have a few blockbuster successes per year. 1,4% of Nigeria’s GDP comes from the Nollywood film industry, which is why it is still valuable for the nation.

Nollywood movies are inspired by Nigeria’s local roots and over 50% of movies are produced in English. The setting and stories portray situations with which people worldwide are confronted daily, such as romance, comedy, prostitution and HIV/Aids.

With Bollywood movies, there is a language barrier because only 2% of the films produced are in English. One-fifth of Bollywood’s profits come from international sales alone.

Popular Nollywood Movies

Nollywood has a range of genres to keep one excited. Some of the popular Nigerian movies that one just has to watch online include:

From Lagos With Love:

This film is a love story written by Dami Elebe and directed by Tola Odunsi. It follows the story of two couples, one of them being the perfect love story, while the other which seems to be a forbidden love.

The Wedding Party (1996):

A romantic comedy drama that follows the entertaining events that go on during the planning of a high-class wedding in Nigeria.

Okafor’s Law (2016):

A Nigerian romantic comedy drama film that questions the challenges of whether men and women can just be friends without romantic attachments.

Maami (2001):

A drama about an international soccer player as he comes to terms with his painful childhood.

Married But Living Single (2012):

A romantic drama about a career driven woman who has to choose to either take a break from work to be with her husband, who is diagnosed with cancer, or to pursue her career.

Contract (2012):

The Contract is a popular drama. It is based in Ghana and received six nominations at the 9th Africa Movie Academy Awards for the year, among them nominations for the best director, for the screenplay, for the best actor in a leading role and for the best actress in a leading role.

What Is The Latest Nollywood News?

Nollywood is not just movies and glam. Just as in Hollywood, where the stars are surrounded by controversy, so are the Nollywood stars. The industry is filled with real-life entertainment, affairs, scandals and scantily clad actors and actresses on social media. Here is a brief look at some of the latest Nollywood news:

  • Nollywood actor Yul Edochie, who was set to run for the presidency in 2019 on the platform of All Progressives Grand Alliance, has opted out. He made the announcement that he is withdrawing from the race. It was said that he made the decision to step down from his presidential bid after proper and careful considerations and consultations.
  • Nigerian film maker, Kunle Afolayan, revealed in an interview that he hardly watches Nollywood movies as they don’t challenge him. He later discussed this further and stated that he was quoted out of context and that he was only referring to badly subtitled movies.
  • Omotola Jalade Ekeinde has been announced as one of the Most Influential 100 People of African Descent. The actor was honored in New York City, following the opening of the 73rd UN General Assembly.
  • The most famous Nollywood couple at the moment, Abimbola Ogunnowo and Okiki Afolayan, has tied the knot. They were legally married at the Ikoyi Lagos marriage registry. This official service was followed by a beautiful white ceremony a week later. They shared pics to their fans of the memorable day.
  • Popular filmmakers and CEO of Royal Arts Academy Emem Isong Misodi, alongside actress Uche Jombo, were among the notable African filmmakers that were honored at the just concluded TAFF (The African Film Festival), which was held in Dallas, the United States of America.