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What Is Happening To Nollywood? Is It Dying Gradually?

Is the Nigerian Film Industry dying slowly or is it just refusing to grow? Nollywood movies (english, particularly) seem to have taken a plunge in terms of quantity of production and even the buzz usually surrounding it. Many of its human resources seem to now have alternative sources of livelihood. One cannot tell for sure if this has to do with the current GFC (Global Financial Crisis) or the impact of the NFVCB (National Film and Video Censors Board) regulations, or even the impact of the make lagos clean by LASAA (cos now no more putting on of posters anyhow in all corners of lagos). A recent visit to National Theatre, Iganmu where actors, actresses, crew people and other key Nollywood persons meet, after they officially moved from Winnies' Hotel (a popular hotel at Kilo Junction), Surulere a few years ago, suggested that the place has been lacking visitors for quite a while. Virtually nothing was happening there. Going back to Winnies' cos its still the preferred hang out zone, suggestedthe same thing. Everywhere was just dry and stale. No posters around for auditions, or casting or anythingto suggest there may be a handful of jobs going on. Sighting an old pal (former continuity man but now a director), he told me Nollywood's preferred location these days is Asaba in Delta State, as well as Enugu. He said a lot of people had actually left the industry as lots of factors had to play in causing the present situation. The NFVCB drove out those small marketers (in quotes) by puttting a new capitalization base for distributors etc. The few big players there are virtually doing nothing that one can say is moving the industry forward. We acknowledge the growth of Music videos in the country today. They are not where they used to be five years ago. But what's with Nollywood. The Yoruba movies seem to have been churning out more movies in the last one year, cos they are not that affected by the NFVCB, as i think their distributors only need to be licensed by NFVCB as regional, state or local distributors, which carries a lower capitalization than that for national, which English movies are subjected to. Many producers have produced movies and reported losses, people are more wary about going into producing movies these days. The frequency at which movies are being shown on almost all channels on local stations and with 24 hours movie channels on cable stations such as DSTV, HiTV, Daarsat, to name a few. Only God knows if the industry can actually be really saved.

On a lighter side, i had developed some world class standard movie scripts (for Nollywood), and was looking forward to finding a willing producer to produce it, since i'm currently engaged with some masters' degree work, if not i probably would have produced it myself considering the fact that i'm

actually an industry person (have written & produced a couple of TV progs and movie scripts though am not a typical Nollywood person). Anyone interested in the scripts?

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6 answers

Am not necessarily suggesting local govts should have a part in owning cinema houses/theatres. The state government won't do badly if it decides to support building these in at least every local govt area (am looking more in d direction of the spread of these structures, though more populated and economically-benefitting areas could snap up more structures) . The federal govt also can do something to help if it really wants to see the industry grow. America is what it is today cos the government had been in full support of the sector since the early 20th century when films just came out.

The reason why am even mentioning government sef is cos i don't know if there are any private individuals or corporations whowould see this potential and tapinto it. How do you guys think motion picture companies like MGM, TimeWarner (New Line Cinema), Universal Pictures, Fox and the likes started? The real money is in distribution, you can imagine if someone like me has the resources, before everyone knows what's happening, i would have sort of monopolised structures everywhere around Naija and even other parts of Africa. Almost everyone hoping to make a buck in the industry would have to pass through me somehow, and of course, the bar would be raised. Imminent partnerships with all these big studios would even make funding easy, and before we know it Nollywood, Nollywood would take its rightful place in world entertainment. Franchises are the key to making it big. Remember how McDonalds started, or Walmart, even the Mr. Biggs, Tantalizers and TFCs of Nigeria, and the banking sector sef, their branches are almost everywhere nowadays. Its only this sort of thinking that can really turn the fortunes of the Nigerian Film Industry around.

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Me self dey go pen cinema,i no dey see any 1 of u.

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are you referring to local govts that cant buy their own pen and stationarties. if there is one thing i am tired of hearing, its solutions that require government at any level

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@Sleekymag

The Gospel truth is, people dont think like along the lines you broke it down, its like reading George Owen's Animal farm "we are led by pigs" I think the Government lacks foresight in every sense!

When FIFA said that the NFA has to be a private entity and not under the Govt, some people nearly passed out!!!

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@omar22

That's the core of Nollywood's problem - Distribution. Nothing like theatrical distribution; just direct to DVD. Most Hollywood movies make most of their revenues from the box office (from the cinemas), international distribution, b4 u can get it on DVD and what have you. You also make money by merchandising, sound track album, even from pay cable (but what we have these days is mere exploitation, they pay only a few hundred dollars to producers, ask Africa Magic).

And even the few Naija movies who want to take it to theatres first will either have to pay heavily to have it screened successfully. Most times, we almost never see it on DVD, abi what happended to top quality films shot of 35mm such as Guinness' Critical Assignment, AMBO movies (White Waters et al.), Cross River State Govt's Amazing Grace, to name a few? How much did they eventually make?

The problem is d distribution system is not effectively in place, and there are regulations that should also be rigidly put in place to make the system survive. We still don't have cinemas in abundance in Nigeria, ever since the death of the cinemas of the 70s.

You can imagine if every local government in Nigeria decides to have a cinema (doesn't have to b the film format, we can create a new technology that will support our type of HD/DV movies on the big screen), that makes it 774 cinemas, and each one is as modestly structured as a Tantalizers joint or TFC or what have you, and can accommodate at least 300 people. Even if the private sector can bring this idea (it doesnt have to b like d silverbirds and numetros), you can bet that all movie producers will want to have their movies screened first at leat for 3 months round these cinemas before it can b available on DVD. Strategies can be in place to shortchange d pirates as well. Foreign movies would also gain revenues from their being screened here in Nigeria, and the ripple effect will trickle down to everyone involved in the industry. Actors will b paid more, ancillary products will develop, our movies will strive for more quality in terms of content and technical quality, and would b more appreciated abroad. Contracts will be more honored,and international distribution deals will sky rocket. You can imagine what government stands to gain from taxes, and other stuff.

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what do you expect!!!

Theirs almost 7 to 8 channel on Sky that shows Nollywood movies (I dont know whether they ask for their permission) in England the sale of these movies has automatically slowed down the sale which would automatically lead to a slow down in production (which I pray for because Nollywood have been churning out to much crap movies for my liking)

Theirs a reason why a hollywood film that been shown at the cinema would take up to another 8 months before its been shown on Sky for everyone to see

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