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Nollywood: Cradle Of African Movies

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The  Cinema of Nigeria,
often referred to as Nolloywood consists of films produced in Nigeria: Its  history dates back to as early as the late 19th century and into the colonial era in early 1900s. The history and development  of the Nigerian motion picture  industry is sometimes generally classified  in four main eras: the colonial era, Golden Age, Video film era and the emerging New Nigerian Cinema.
Film as a medium first arrived Nigeria in the late 19th Century, in the form of peephole viewing of motion picture devices. These  were soon replaced in early 20th century with improved motion picture exhibition devices,  with the first set of films screened at the Glover  Memorial Hall in Lagos  from 12 to 22 August 1903. The earliest feature film made in Nigeria is the 1926’s “palaver” produced by Geoffrey Barkas; the  film was also the first film ever to feature  Nigerian actors in a speaking  role.
As at 1954, mobile cinema vans played to at least  3.5 million people in Nigeria, and films being  produced  by the Nigerian film unit were screened for free at the 44 available  cinemas. The first film entirely copyrighted  to the Nigerian film  unit is “Fincho” (1957) by Sam Zebba; which is also the first Nigerian film to be shot in colour. After Nigeria’s independence in 1960, the cinema business rapidly expanded, with new cinema  houses being established.
As a result, Nigerian content in theatres increased in the late 1960s into the 1970s, especially productions from Western Nigeria, owing to former theatre practitioners such as Hubert Ogunde and Moses  Olaiya transitioning into the big screen. In 1972, the  Indigenization   Decree was issued  by Yakubu Gowon  which demands the transfer of ownership of about a total of 300 film theatres from their foreign  owners to Nigerians, which  resulted  in more Nigerians playing active roles in the cinema and film.
The oil boom of 1973 through 1978  also contributed immensely to the spontaneous boost of the cinema culture in Nigeria, as the increased  purchasing power in Nigeria made a wide range of citizens to have disposable  income to spend on cinema going and and home television sets.
After several moderate performing films, “Papa Ajasco” (1984) by Wale Adenuga became  the first blockbuster, grossing  approximately N61,000  in three days. A year later “Mosebolatan” (1985) by  Moses Olaiya also went  ahead to gross N107,000  in five  days. After the decline of the Golden  era, Nigeria film  industry experienced  a second major boom in the 1990s supposedly marked by the  release, of the direct to video  film “living in Bondage” (1992).
The industry peaked in the mid 2000s to become the second largest film industry in the world in terms of the  number of annual  film productions, placing it ahead of the  United States and behind  only India. They started dominating screens across the African Continent and by extension, the Caribbeans and the diaspora with the movies significantly  influencing cultures, bordering on theories  such as the “Nigerialisation of Africa”. Since mid-2000s, the Nigeria Cinema has undergone some restructuring to promote quality and professionalism , with  The “Figurine” (2009) widely regarded as marking  the  major turn around of contemporary Nigerian Cinema. There have  since been a resurgence  cinema  establishments,  and a steady return of the cinema culture in Nigeria. As of 2013, Nigerian cinema is rated as the third most valuable  film industry in the world  based on its worth and revenues generated.
As at  2004, at least four to five films were produced everyday in Nigeria. Nigerian  movies now already dominate television screens across the African continent  and by extension, the diaspora. The film actors also became household  names  across the continent, and the movies have significantly influenced cultures in many African  nations; from  way of dressing to speech and usage of Nigerian slangs. This was attributed to the fact that Nigerian films told “relatable” stories, which  made foreign films to “gather dusts” on the shelves of video stores even though they cost much less.
According to the Filmmakers Cooperative of Nigeria, every film in Nigeria had a potential audience  of 15 million people in Nigeria  and about  5 million outside Nigeria.
In no time, the industry became the third largest producer of films in the world. However, this didn’t  translate  to an overtly commercial film industry when compared  to other major  film hubs across the world; the  worth  of the industry was approximately at just about us $250 million, since most of the films produced  were cheaply made.
The film industry regardless became a major employer of labour in Nigeria. As at 2007, with a total number of 6,841 registered video parlours  and an estimated  of about 500,000 unregistered  ones, the estimated revenue generated by sales and rentals  of movies in Lagos State alone was estimated to be N804 million (US $ 5million) per week, which  adds up to an estimated N33.5 billion (US $209 million) revenue for Lagos State  per annum. Approximately, 700,000 discs were sold in Alaba market per day  with the total sales revenue generated by the film industry  in Nigeria estimated at N522 billion (US $ 3bilion) per annum.
Several grants have been launched by the Nigerian government  in order to support quality content in Nigerian film. In 2006, project Nollywood was launched  by the Nigerian government  in conjunction with Ecobank. The  project provided N100 million (US $781 thousand) to Nigeria film makers to produce  high quality films and to fund a multimillion naira distribution network  across the country.
In 2010, President  Goodluck Jonathan launched a N30 billion (US $200 million) “Creative and Entertainment Industry Intervention Fund,” financed by Bank of Industry (BOI) in conjunction with Nigeria Export and Import (NEXIM) bank.
In 2013, A smaller new grant of N3 billion (US $20 million) was awarded once again solely for Nollywood, and specifically for the production of high quality films and to sponsor filmmakers for formal training in film schools. Also in 2015, bank of industry launched  another  Nolly -fund programme for the purpose of giving  financial support in form of loans to film producers.
By the end of 2013, the film industry reportedly hit a record breaking revenue of N1.72 trillion (US $ 11 billion). As of 2014, the industry was worth  N853.9 billion (US $ 5.1 billion) making it the third  most valuable film industry  in the world, behind  the United  States and India. It contributed, about 1.4% to Nigeria’s economy, this was attributed  to the increase in the number of quality films produced and more  formal distribution methods.
Among the organizations and events in the industry include: Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) which  regulates and represents  the affairs of the actors in Nigeria and abroad, African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA). Created  in 2005,  it is considered  to be the most prestigious award in Nollywood and on The African Content, African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA), Nollywood Movies  Award (NMA) and  Best of Nollywood Awards BON.
Additional reports from Naija.com

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Nigerian Idol Gets Tougher As Daniel Exits

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Last week, contestants on Nigerian Idol took a trip back to their birth year, as they performed their favourite hits from the year they were born. BeyonceAjomiwe opened the night with her rendition of Rihanna’s 2004 hit, Unfaithful. DJ Sose commented that her breath control was good, but Seyi Shay felt the song was not the right choice for her. 
Next up was Comfort. Her performance of Christina Aguilera’s Beautiful impressed the judges and showcased her continuous growth in the competition. She was, however, advised to work on her vocals and stage presence.
Atela Francis’ soulful performance of Bryan Adams’ rock classic Please Forgive Me left the judges speechless. When Obi Asika finally spoke, he commented that Francis had just delivered a stadium worthy performance.
Another contestant who left the judges speechless was Faith Jason. His song choice, You Are Not Alone was a tribute to his idol Michael Jackson. DJ Sose exclaimed that he was the full package; combining his voice, skill and stage performance.
Fans favourite, Kingdom followed Francis and Faith Jason performances with a stunning rendition of Toni Braxton’s Unbreak my heart. According to him, he chose the song because he read fans’ comments, asking him to be expressive and this was his response. Seyi Shay felt that this week’s performance was a step up from last week and he had redeemed himself. Obi Asika agreed, saying that Kingdom had arrived and they had all been waiting for him to sing and perform the way he did during the auditions.
Akunna sang LeAnn Rimes’ 1997 hit, How Do I Live. Obi Asika commented that like her previous performances, she was great. Emmanuel closed the night with a stellar performance of Seal’s Kiss From A Rose. He received a standing ovation from all the judges who praised his vocal ability and stage presence.
For Daniel, it was the end of the road as his journey on Nigerian Idol came to an end. You can vote for your favorite contestants as the power to determine who stays and who leaves is solely in the hands of the viewers. Voting on Nigerian Idol is via the website, mobile site, MyDStv, and MyGOtv apps and via SMS, which is available only in Nigeria.

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Why Rivers Rules Nigeria’s Entertainment Enclaves

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It is no gain saying that Rivers state occupies an enviable position in Nigeria. Apart from being the hub of oil and gas activities in the country and the treasure base of the nation, the state is also the heart beat of the country’s entertainment enclave.
      The historic exploits in music, movie, beauty pageants tourism, Arts and culture have attracted a humongous number of foreign and local investors, tourists and all classes of fun lovers to the state. The legendary hospitality, enviable security network, enabling environment and peaceful coexistence have turned the state to a save haven and home away from home for the numerous visitors.
MUSIC: In music, Rivers state boasts of a vibrast music industry that is globally acclaimed its artistes are putting out great music and for a longtime had quite a number of them pushed to national and even global acclaim. Recently Rivers state born award winning music super star, DaminiOgulu popularly known as Burna Boy made Nigeria and Africa proud by winning the highly coveted Global music Album award at the 61st edition of the Grammy awards held in Los Angeles, USA.
       Other Rivers State award winning stars making waves in Nigeria and beyond include Duncan Mighty, Frank D’ Nero, Lexy M, Oba Omega, Ajebo Hustlers, Omah Lay, Mercy Chinwo, Mr. 2Kay, Wakonzy, Idahams, Dan Dizzy, Muma Gee, Dr. Barz, Soti (the malaria crooner), Sky B, Bukwild-Da Ikwerre man and Deinbofa Nana Okoto (aka Korkormikor) among others.
Movie: Rivers state is also known for producing leading actors and actresses in Nollywood whose achievements in the make belief industry have attracted global attention with various local and international awards to show for their exploits in the industry. Some of these stars are brand ambassador to multinational companies and organisations.
    Rivers state born beauty queen and organizer of the Miss Earth beauty contest Ibinabo Fiberesima was one time National president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) under her watch, the umbrella body of actors and actress in Nigeria recorded unprecedented achievements and members enjoyed an open door policy and sense of belonging.
  Other A-List stars in Nollywood who are from Rivers state include: Sam Dede, Columbus Irosoanga, Gentle Jack, Walta Anga, Alaso Wariboko, Late J.T. Tom West and Tonto Dike, as well as Monalisa Chinda, Maurine Ihua and Ada Eme.
     These veterans have contributed in taking Nollywood to the next level of greatness and global recognition and have also generated revenue to the country amongst other achievements.
Comedy: The Rivers state entertainment landscape also includes the comedy clan. The state also parades veteran comedians who call the shots in the comedy industry in Nigeria. Among the humour merchants of Rivers state origin who have achieved legendary milestones through their hilarious joke are: Julius Agwu, Dan D’ Humerus, Angel D’ laugh, Prince Hezekiah the Rugged Pastor and a host of others.
TOURISM: This is another entertainment sector where Rivers state has recorded enviable history in terms of tourist attractions. Some of the historic site that abound in the state at second to non in the country. Some of the famous tourist attractions include the beaches such as Ifoko beach, Kono beach, Port Harcourt tourist beach and Finima beach etc.
      There are other tourist favourites, like the Port Harcourt Zoological Garden Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt pleasure park, World class hotels, cinema houses, amusement park and several other locations for relaxation and sight seeing.
Arts/Culture: Arts and culture play complimentary role to the tourism sector in the state as an entertainment outlet. The national museum in the state contains artifacts related to the various ethnic groups in the state including bronze, pottery, masks, historic household equipments, old currencies etc.
    The Rivers state cultural centre is a famous tourist attraction that serves to educate visitors on the rich cultural diversity of the state, there is a theatre, a stage and auditorium for live performance of cultural dance and plays which holds a huge attraction for tourists.
Nightlife: Nightlife Is Another area Rivers state stands out, Apart from Lagos, Rivers state is the state to beat in terms if quality, undiluted entertainment. Before the advent of covid 19 pandemic and Government restrictive policies, the state used to bubble from sdusk to dawn with wining, dining and dancing amid fun, glitz, glamour and razzmatazz.
  Though the covid 19 saga has whittled down the enthusiasm of fun seekers, night crawlers and clubbers, the entertainment industry still bounces ahead. Before now, in virtually all major street in the Garden City, you find drinking spots and other hangouts with Naija Jams blaring from giant speakers from 8:00pm and some time till dawn.
      It is difficult to tell which is a night club in this city because these drinking parlours and hangouts operate as night clubs even some restaurants and carwash do too. Girls of easy virtues in the state charge thrice the amount any of their colleagues in other states charge, because in Port Harcourt, girls are in class of their own.
    A typical night life in the garden city starts fun lovers and their partners start storming the cinemas, some of the popular ones are Silverbird cinema’s, Genesis Deluxe cinema, film one at Port Harcourt shopping mall, Port Harcourt pleasure park cinema etc, from the movies houses to bars and eateries and eventually end up at the nightclubs to listen to Dee Jays (DJs) performing live and dishing out the latest club bangers.
    Most of these nightclubs are located at the GRA phase 2 axis of the city and other parts of the metropolis they include: MendianOgoyi place, Tombis a street, GRA Phase 2. Edizwinebar, Emeyal street, GRA phase 2, platinum, Hotel Presidential GRA phase 2 Casablanca nightclub and Karokee, GRA phase 2 others are the Grib, William Jumbo street, Liquid lounge and Bar, Onne Road, Morella, Amadi flats Lesuka, Peter Odili Road, The Hub, Odili Road Port Harcourt among others.
    Nightlife in the city has also brought brisk business to those in the fast food and suya business as most times guys and their babes rush out of the clubs to have quick meals. Taxi drivers are also not left out as they hang around these clubs and bars to take passengers home after a night full of fun.

By: Jacob Obinna

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Nollywood Veteran Actor, Bruno Iwuoha Bows Out

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The news of his death on April 10, 2021, shook Nollywood. His fans and colleagues knew he had a prolonged battle with diabetes, but didn’t know the notable Nollywood actor, Bruno Obinna Iwuoha, would bow to the disease, even after a news website had hinted that he was responding to treatment.
Aged 68 and survived by a wife and six children, the remains of the award-winning actor was committed to mother earth this Thursday in his hometown UmunumoUmuanunu in Ehime Mbano Local Council of Imo State.
In a condolence message, President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Ejezie Emeka Rollas commiserated with the immediate family members, friends and fans and prayed, “God would comfort them at this moment of grief.”
Rollas described Iwuoha as a “dependable actor and committed practitioner who will be surely missed.” A gifted actor who acts with credulity and mien, Iwuoha hit the right note and became a household name when he interpreted delightfully, the role of a catholic priest in the award winning flick, Sins of the Flesh, which starred Africa’s best ChiomaChukwukaAkpotha in a lead role. It was his deep and inimitable interpretation of the role that got the jury of the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) to unanimously declare him the best supporting actor in a leading role.
For Bruno Iwuoha, that award, which he received personally at the 2007 edition of the AMAA held in Yenegoa, Bayelsa State capital, was confirmation of a dream fulfilled. Right from when he joined in a little over two decades ago, Bruno had always wished that in no time he would emerge a constant visitor in most homes. And true to expectation, that confirmation came and it came in no time.
Though Uncle Bruno, as younger colleagues roundly call him, confessed that he grew up with a healthy appetite for acting, he never imagined that acting would become something of a full time job for him. Until he passed on this April, his life story took a different dimension. Not only did the grey haired actor cut a swath among the industry’s recognisable faces, he was roundly regarded as one of the good men of the movie because of the streak of successes he recorded as an actor.
But Iwuoha didn’t walk into acting just for the fun of it. The last time he spoke to this reporter, Uncle B as he is also called, revealed that he had a flair for acting and was at a time head of his school dramatic and literary society. It was there that he first struck his acting stuff.
But he didn’t continue after school. Young Iwuoha wasn’t convinced then that acting would put food on his table. So, he made up his mind to do some buying and selling, as well as supplies. Later, he got a steady supply job and became a registered contractor with the National Fertilizer Company.
But even as he bought and sold for profit, something inside of him yearned for some acting on stage and screen. The voice became clearer as days pass. But Iwuoha would not be distracted or so he thought. He continued trading until he bowed to what he said was the ‘superior pressure’ of the voice within.’
“It was the day that I returned from one of my business trips that I met a letter inviting me for an audition; that was how it started,” Iwuoha recalled.
Indeed, it took that decision to honour the audition invitation for Iwuoha’s music chair to turn full circle. That day turned out the last day that the actor with a distinctive feature-grey hair bought and sold any commodity. He took to full time acting and confessed then that he is likely not to consider quitting motion picture practice for any other job because of the gains that has come with his involvement in motion picture practice as an actor.
An easy-going personality, Iwuoha’s first take in the movie industry was as a supporting actor in Lost Kingdom written by EkennaIgwe and directed by Ndubuisi Oko. From Lost Kingdom, he marched on as producers sought him out each time they wanted a steady and reliable actor who will throw himself to a role once he gets one. Unlike his peers who played same role in every movie, Iwuoha versatility showed when he moved easily from one role to another. If he was not playing a chief in one, he would be playing a devious and or good father or uncle in another and or a priest in yet another. He was soon to be named an all rounder.

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