The Nollywood Boom

Nollywood represents the third largest grossing film industry, after Hollywood and Bollywood. Based out of Nigeria, Nollywood relies on the digital video movie market, by shooting with digital cameras and distributing the films on a massive scale via DVD or VCD.  The popularity of Nollywood can be attributed to the advent and accessibility of HD cameras, and the ability to do editing, music, and other post-production work on basic computer programs. As a result of civil unrest in the 90s, the Nigerian film industry collapsed and local productions lost support. Inexpensive technological resources provided a way for African filmmakers to create films attuned to their ways of life, and thus subject matters depict themes ranging from romance, comedy, corruption, prostitution, the occult, ethnic differences and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Moreover, viewership has also been extended by way of M-NET, the South African based satellite television network, and gained international support among African diaspora in Europe and North America.

“When I first read about Nigerian directors producing hundreds of feature-length films with digital cameras, a week, and a few thousand dollars, I found the subject irresistible,” says Franco Sacchi, director of the documentary This Is Nollywood (2007). “Here, in Nigeria, was not only a rare positive story about Africa, but one that embodied the egalitarian promise of digital technology—anybody can make a movie. It shows how the egalitarian promise of digital technology has found realization in one of the world’s largest and poorest cities. And it shows the universal theme of people striving to fulfill their dreams” ( Evidently, global cultures are utilizing digital forms to translate their own narratives.
Natalie Panovic

Watch online a 27 min. documentary called Nollywood Dreams directed by Jacques Pauw in Nigeria.