The Nigerian film industry emerged in the late 1970s, as the nation's economy collapsed. Public funding of movies and original television programming vanished, and crime made cinemas too dangerous to visit. European and American shows soon dominated national television. But, disturbed by the absence of black faces on Nigerian television, the country's fledgling filmmakers began spinning vibrant tribal plays onto the screen. By the early 1990s, filming on celluloid had become too expensive and production shifted to video.
Unlike African art films, which appear on the global film circuit and are commonly financed by European investors, Nollywood films are backed by African merchants. For instance, a merchant-investor could pay a director $10,000, covering the production costs and procuring the film's distribution rights. About two weeks later, the merchant-investor gets the film's master tape, then sends it to one of many mass-dubbing centers in Nigeria. The movie is copied onto a Video Compact Disc, known as a VCD and widely used across the developing world. VCDs cost $1.50 to make and are usually sold to consumers at outdoor markets in Nigeria for $3, or less. (more)
The Cinema of Nigeria is colloquially known as Nollywood, the name given to the Nigerian video movie industry. The term is of uncertain origin, but was derived from Hollywood in the same manner as Bollywood (see also: Tollywood and Kollywood). Nollywood has no "studios" in the Hollywood sense. Many of the big producers have offices in Surulere, Lagos. Idumota market on Lagos Island is the primary distritution center. The video movies are shot in locations all over Nigeria with distinct regional characteristics in northern movies (primarily in Hausa language), the Yoruba language movies produced in the west and the popular English language movies shot in the southeast. Many foreign and local critics have criticized Nollywood for trite plots, poor dialogue, and poor production values. Some worry that the prevalence of witchcraft and violence in the movies may encourage the worst stereotypes about Africans. At the same time, these local movies have achieved the difficult feat of outselling Hollywood films in Nigeria and many other African countries. Nigerian video movies are distributed through the informal economy of petty traders in Africa. In this way they are available in even the most remote areas of the continent. (more)
"We have the stories to tell, thousands of them, but there's a lot to be done," says Charles Novia, a popular director who has 28 films to his credit. "We need to be more in tune with the new cinematic techniques across the w