The Nigerian film industry has carved a niche for itself in the global film sector, topping the list of film producers in the world, with the value of the industry put at N522 billion, BusinesssDay confirmed.
The country’s movie industry known as ‘Nollywood’, continues to improve in craft, volume and value of output, generating increasing interest and patronage locally and from around the world.
Despite the growth, the industry is still experiencing drawbacks when it comes to funding, equipment, skills-set, quality and piracy.
Alluding to the success of the country’s movie industry,Edem Duke, Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism and National Orientation, who was guest at the Nigeria-British Chamber of Commerce Breakfast Meeting in Lagos yesterday, said: “The traditional flagships in the creative industries have been the movie industry, the literature/theatre arts industry, and the music industry. UNESCO declared that Nollywood has the largest production of films in the world, with the UNDP/UNCTAD 2010 Report valuing the industry in 2008 at N522 billion (USD2.75bn).”
The world’s most rated film industry, America’s Hollywood is worth $92 billion (N1.45 trillion), producing 2,000 films per year. Bolllywood, India’s firm sector, produces 1,000 films per year and is worth $3.6 billion (N568 billion).
Duke said Nigeria has won all available prizes in the international literary world, including but not limited to the Nobel Prize, Booker Prize, Pulitzer Prize, etc. “In addition, the Nigeria LNG has instituted the most prestigious literature and science prizes in Africa – The Nigerian Prize for Literature and the Nigerian Prize for Science. Nigeria’s music industry has hit the world stage beyond the initial accomplishments worthy of predecessors like the inimitable Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, as Nigerian artistes now win major international awards, and are collaborating with global music practitioners to develop innovative award-winning lyrics” he said.
Duke further observes that other identified sectors of the country’s creative/entertainment industries are developing in leaps and bounds, surpassing the expectations of all stakeholders – especially fashion/lifestyle, comedy, dance, visual arts, and, increasingly, carnivals, festivals and the culinary arts. “Nigerians are extremely talented and creative people, and the country’s 160 million-plus population represents a large and demanding consumer market for creative content and new technologies.”
Commenting on the Nigerian film industry on February 23, 2012 Andrew Rice of the New York Times said: “Twenty years after bursting from the grungy street markets of Lagos, the $500 million Nigerian movie business churns out more than a thousand titles a year on average, and trails only Hollywood and Bollywood in terms of revenues. The films are hastily shot and then burned onto video CDs, a cheap alternative to DVDs. They are seldom seen in the developed world, but all over Africa consumers snap up the latest releases from video peddlers for a dollar or two…”
He added, “On a continent where economies usually depend on extracting natural resources or on charity, movie-making is now one of Nigeria’s largest sources of private-sector employment…The African Movie Academy Awards, held each year in the oil-rich Niger Delta region, have become a lavish spectacle, drawing visitors like Forest Whitaker and Danny Glover. Nigeria’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, has recruited Nollywood stars to campaign with him…”
He lamented “…most of the movies themselves are awful, marred by slapdash production, melodramatic acting and ludicrous plots”.
He gives kudos to Kunle Afolayan, a Nigerian film maker, whom he described as “one of a group of upstart directors trying to transcend those rote formulas and low expectations”. According to Rice, “His breakthrough film, the 2009 thriller “The Figurine,” was an aesthetic leap: while no viewer would confuse it with “Citizen Kane,” to Nigerians, it announced the arrival of a swaggering talent keen to upset an immature industry…”
Yemi Adefulu, deputy president of the Nigerian British Chamber of Commerce, says: “The creative industry is one that should be looked after. We can be a part of showcasing this to the U.K.”.