United States of America, Europe, South East Asia and Africa, are all entertaining themselves by visiting the nearby movie houses that have shows after shows of Nigerian films. In fact, the Nigerian movie industry, popularly known as Nollywood, is catching up in the race to the best, with Hollywood and Bollywood the two bigwigs in the world of cinema.
Flip through any business directory in the country of Nigeria and you will find a host of cinema halls across cities. However, the roots of the film industry in this east African country are very humble. The 1960s saw the first few movies made here, by legends like Ola Balogun and Hubert Ogunde. But, the high cost of production and conservative audience soon lowered the spirits. Thankfully, the government stepped in and supported it in the early years through television broadcasting. Two decades later, every state has an exclusive broadcasting station of its own. Still restricted to the foreign programs, the locals got the opportunity to televise the theatrical performances.
The year 1992 was path breaking for Nollywood with the release of the movie Living in Bondage. It was a drama-thriller movie that was directly sold off in the videos and was a major kickstart for others who wished to get into this business. Slowly booming, the Nollywood videos pushed the foreign movies off the shelves and gained popularity in major cinemas in Lagos and Abuja, as well as across the continent of Africa. Additionally, the use of English language expanded their markets to the other countries across the globe. Soon, aggressive marketing in the form of advertisements, campaigns, posters, trailers were seen on American and European television. One of the first movies that gained international success in its true form was Osuofia.
Just like the real life influences reel life, the usual themes of Nollywood movies are based on moral dilemmas of the modern Africans. While most movies promote the basic religious values of Christianity or Islam, the others are plain evangelists. These even deal with the religious diversity and how the Africans cope up with it.
With estimated earnings of over 200 million dollars per year, Nollywood is the third-largest film industry in the world. Plus, it is the second-largest employer in the country. With upcoming places like the Silverbird cinema, Abuja and Lagos, this industry is only set to reach the top. From production to distribution, cinemas in Nigeria are working their way to creating world-class movie experiences.
In just a few decades, Nollywood is already competing with Hollywood. With a consistent rise and further exposure to global cinema; it would not come as a surprise if the former overtook the latter!
Onyeka Austine writes for VConnect, which is a local search engine and Information service provider in Nigeria. VConnect’s objective is to bridge the gap between information seeker and businesses by providing comprehensive information about businesses, products and services. Also, users can find various details regarding movies in Nigeria on movies.vconnect.com.