From the age of VHS tapes to the inception of DVDs in the Nigerian film industry, almost every Nigerian would agree that much of Nollywood movies have always been created on folklore or storylines spinning from superstitions and treacheries marking escapades beyond village life.
However, contemporary Nollywood movies—especially the likes of ‘Lionheart’, ‘Up-North’ and ‘King of Boys’— are making an unrivaled fortune for themselves and changing the narratives for the industry in the global space.
Last month, the three movies came into global spotlight, having been selected for screening in the United States at the 2019 edition of the Nollywood in Hollywood initiative, a showcase designed to expose Nigerian films to the capital of the world’s entertainment industry.
Speaking at the event of the showcase, Ose Oyamendan, film maker and founder of the Nollywood in Hollywood Initiative, marveled about the rate with which Nollywood movies are gaining global acceptance.
“I’ve been to places in the Caribbean where you walk past houses and people are watching Nollywood films. Nollywood is the way a lot of the black diaspora understand their history. Even in Brazil, they are so into Nollywood films because that’s how they know where their families came from,” he said.
Oyamendan acknowledged the role of Netflix streaming platform in projecting Nollywood to the global space. Unlike before when bigwigs in the global film makers give “a blank stare” of obliviousness at the mention of Nollywood, he said the industry is gaining increased attention from Hollywood and the global industry.
“Netflix buying worldwide rights to “Lionheart” is something people are very proud of. It shows that Netflix — and by extension Hollywood — is interested in what Nollywood has to offer,” he said.
“Filmmaking in Africa is exploding and Nollywood, in terms of popularity, is leading the charge. I hope this generation of Nigerians and Africans and filmmakers, artists and creators is the one that finally turns the fortunes of the continent around,” added Bankole Wellington who stars in Up North.
Although Kemi Adetiba, Nigerian filmmaker whose ‘Wedding Party’ is showing on Netflix, agreed that Nollywood has achieved impressive feats in the global space in recent times.
She however stated that Africa has infrastructure-related impediments and poverty to overcome.
“We have the internet, but it’s not the best and it’s very expensive. The average man cannot afford a Netflix subscription,” said Adetiba.