Today, the Nigerian film industry or Nollywood as it is more commonly referred to, is recognised as one of the biggest in the world. There are star actors, higher production values and the intensely enthusiastic participation of global audiences in the burgeoning film scene in the country. However, these advancements did not occur until recently, when it went from its direct-to-video hits in the Golden Era to its current state – the new wave, more controversially called “New Nollywood.”
New Nollywood saw films particularly distinguished by their enhanced narrative complexity, aesthetic value, and overall production quality compared to the films made during the video boom. While some films in this wave are still released directly on DVD, most are released theatrically to teeming fans via cinemas or streaming platforms.
What happened before New Nollywood?
Long before the Ini Dima-Okojies and Timini Egbusons of today, cinema, for most people, was in the form of playing companies and travelling troupes. They performed in various cities and attracted a huge crowd of faithful looking to unwind and have a good time. These plays, either funded by the court, church or audiences, were promoted via advertisements and posters disseminating information to potential audiences.
The introduction of technology made it possible for these plays to be recorded and screened in tiny picture houses across cinemas in the industry. As a result, the local content, especially productions from Western Nigeria, owing to former theatre practitioners such as Hubert Ogunde and Moses Olaiya, were on the big screen. This way, they reached a larger audience, and this saw a significant increase in the 70s.
By the 80s, the purchasing power of most Nigerians had increased (all thanks to the oil boom of the late 70s). This single action saw an increase in cinema visits as more people could spend more going to the cinemas. It also saw home television sets become a staple in Nigerian homes. The latter would then birth family television shows, and sitcoms created for families and revolved around the quintessential Nigerian home. These shows like New Masquerade, Basi & Company, to mention but a few, were riveting and aired at times when every family member was home from the daily hustle and bustle.
These television productions were later released on video, leading to the development of a small scale informal video trade, and subsequently the much talked about video boom of the 1990s. Despite all the success, this era of Nollywood was not easy as it was plagued with multiple errors. Like the oil boom was integral to purchasing power, its crash affected the industry as well. There were also issues revolving around lack of finance and marketing support, lack of standard film studios and production equipment and, very importantly, a lack of experience on the part of practitioners.
Also, owning television sets at home came with its problem – more and more households rejected the idea of visiting cinemas. It also didn’t help that the films produced during this era were screened over a single weekend, making them available on video immediately. Eventually, more families consumed films together as it had become inbuilt behaviour. These films were educational and taught the difference between good and evil, and already there was a culture of communal watching which made it all the better.
By the 90s, most cinema houses had collapsed due to a lack of activity. Churches acquired others that had not collapsed. As expected, video on demand was the thing, and films like Kenneth Nnabue’s Living in Bondage had paved the way for this. Video rental clubs thrived for families, and the allure was paying as little as N100 for a limited amount to a film.
Resting on the Shoulders of New Nollywood
New Nollywood may not have kicked in until recently, but its groundwork has been a long time in the works. Few years into the 2000s, there was a vibrant rebirth of cinemas designed for society’s middle and upper echelon. By this time, televisions were still trendy, and films went from VHS (Video Home System) to VCD (Video Compact Discs). Nonetheless, more people craved some form of social interaction. The cinemas afforded them some level of social activity and a modified sort of entertainment beyond film watching, seeing as they were located in prominent and busy malls. The Silverbird Group was one of the first significant players here, opening up a high scale mall in Victoria Island, which had a cinema and other entertainment attractions. Upon Silverbird’s success, more and more cinemas erupted and spread into the less affluent neighbourhoods in the society.
Also, during this period, grants were provided by the government and various institutions to filmmakers to produce high-quality titles and aid proper distribution as piracy was eating deeply into the industry at that point. Some of these grants allowed filmmakers to take film courses and learn at prestigious schools. Other filmmakers tried to make breakaway films, which were quite different from the norm. These include Tunde Kelani’s Thunderbolt, Tade Ogidan’s Dangerous Twins and Mildred Okwo’s 30 Days.
By the end of 2013, the film industry reportedly hit a record-breaking revenue of N1.72 trillion. One year later, the industry was worth N853.9 billion, making it the third most valuable film industry in the world, behind the United States and India.
With New Nollywood, Nigerian films have been elevated from what they used to be in the video boom area. They have considerably bigger budgets, extended film production periods and are better equipped to take the storytelling up a notch. Also, a little freedom with the range of stories to tell was introduced. One could argue that New Nollywood may not have gotten storytelling better than its predecessors, but there seems to be time to correct that mistake if the industry seems willing to.
Another exciting thing that came with New Nollywood was video-on-demand platforms and pay-TV networks, another interesting way technology has helped the industry. Although cinemas are great for social activity, there’s an audience that either misses out on films due to their short stay in cinemas or just plain unwillingness to watch them. In 2020, Netflix launched locally in Nigeria and South Africa to prioritise content made by Africans. Since then, it’s commissioned a few original TV shows and films, most recently Kemi Adetiba’s seven-part series King of Boys: The Return of the King. Before its launch, the streaming giant had also been paying for content by Africans for streaming on its platform.
Guns Should Be Legalised In Nigeria – Iyabo Ojo
The mother of two made this known while reacting to a video posted by comedienne, Princess, on her Instagram page.
Princess, whose foster daughter was allegedly sexually abused by Yoruba actor, Baba Ijesha, shared a video of a four-year-old girl who was sexually assaulted by her teacher.
Alongside the video, Princess wrote: “Abuse of minors has become the new trend in Nigeria and only a few people are speaking up. Even in the animal kingdom, it’s not this bad. Our society stigmatises, even threatening victims and their parents, while the perpetrators like Baba Ijesha walk freely.
“Our children are being destroyed daily and most people see it as cruise.”
Reacting, Iyabo Ojo made it clear that anyone who messes with her children will be dealt with.
The mother of two wrote: “Can they just legalise guns because some demons need to be taken out as soon as possible?
Comedian AY, Wife Welcome Second Child After 13 Years
He announced this in a video shared on his Instagram page.
The birth of their second child is coming thirteen years after they had their first child, Michelle.
Alongside a video, AY wrote: “Our prayers in the last 13 years has been answered. Ayomide, thank you for making Mabel and I ‘Mummy and Daddy’ again.
“Thank you for making Michelle a big sister. Thanks to everyone who kept us in their prayers and never stopped feeding us with positive vibes.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him and he will make your path straight.
“God’s time is the best.”
Living In Nigeria Becoming Crazier – Basket Mouth’s Wife
Basket Mouth’s wife, in a recent post said is unfair that Nigerians have to constantly deal with the regular increase in prices.
According to her, it’s getting ‘crazier trying to survive in the ‘Giant of Africa’.
She urged the Buhari-led government to help Nigerians by making life livable.
On her Instagram story, she wrote: “Our dear government, do you want us all to leave this country for you.
“It’s unfair how we constantly have to deal with the regular price increment of foodstuffs and groceries.
“It’s getting crazier trying to survive in this country that’s supposed to be the giant of Africa.
“Abeg you people should help us and make life in Nigeria livable .”
The Tide source gathered that the prices of foodstuffs in the past few months have continued to increase in markets across the country.
Many Nigerians have taken to social media to lament the cost of eggs, bread, beans and other foodstuffs.
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