Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Nollywood?

Nope, not the name (that is another story), but the industry. Nollywood movies are very, very popular. This has made the top Nollywood actors international superstars anywhere black people live. From the West Indies to Haiti to all regions of Africa, Nollywood stars are much beloved. However, if you have ever watched a Nollywood movie, you must the asking WHY? I have seen how y’all enjoy trashing Nollywood as an industry on this site, and the question must have occurred to you: Why are these movies so loved? Despite being a huge fan of the industry, I have to admit what anybody with half an eye can see: the average Nolly movie is not that good. If you pick up a movie at random, you are likely to be subjected to clich├ęd story telling, poor editing, bad sound, amateur special effects, and over dramatic, over the top acting. I can only compare the way many people feel about Nollywood’s puzzling popularity to the bewilderment in the US at the popularity of Tyler Perry movies, or even the new teen fad: the Twilight series. What kind of emotional connection do people have to these products that make them ignore good writing and acting? What is the attraction? I am not a screaming blushing teen, so I cannot explain the Twilight phenomenon. However, I suspect that Tyler Perry and his crazy dramatic movies have a lot in common with Nollywood in many ways.

When we think about African film, you would expect that South African movies would dominate. Two of their movies have been nominated for Oscars two years in a row, with Tsotsi winning the academy award for best foreign language movie in 2006. Yet, I would bet my last penny that if you asked the average African who the stars of Yesterday and Tsotsi were; your answer would be a puzzled blank look. And if you checked out this year’sAfrican movie awards (AMAA), you would see that the Kenyans carted away most of the prizes. Yet, if we ask our average African who the stars of Kenyan film are – another blank stare! However, ask of Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jolade Ekeinde , Stella Damasus, or Ramsey Nouah on the streets of London (in the black community), or Haiti, or Uganda. Instant recognition. Why is this?

I was interested in getting a more rigorous answer than “people like what they like”, so I decided to do some research. I chose to watch the South African films I could lay my hands on, namely the aforementioned Yesterday and Tsotsi so that I could compare them to Nigerian film in order to begin to figure out this mystery. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to the best of Kenyan cinema (if you can help a sista out, it would be much appreciated). As you see from the reviews, I really enjoyed both movies. I found them to be more technically advanced than ALL Nollywood products at the moment, in addition to being very touching and emotional. It was interesting to see that both movies were directed by white South Africans Darrell James Roodt and Gavin Hood respectively. Even though both movies were populated by African actors, the pace was very European – majestic shots, slow, almost languid pace – everything very measured. I watched Yesterday twice (yes, the things I have to do!) the second time with the director’s commentary on. I learned a lot about filmmaking in general, and about the making of this movie in particular. The director said something very interesting – about how apartheid had really separated the Afrikaners from the black Africans, such that the different cultures were just even now starting to learn about each other. And there were many things about life in the village that surprised him. My conclusion was that he was basically making a movie about a culture that was pretty alien to him, the same way Hollywood has always made movies about Africa. What we thus got from those two movies was a vision of African life from an outsider’s perspective. In other words, while the packaging was nice, the story was touching and interesting, they were lacking the one ingredient that Nollywood has in spades – authenticity!

You see, I have been attending a majority white church for a long time, and every Sunday, I am really struck by how different we are culturally from people of European descent. They are a very structured, and in the case of the church I attend, very socially conservative people. Every movement, every action is measured, planned in advance, and continually examined. It’s also a very emotionally reserved culture – it’s clear in the way they worship in church, and in the way they make their film. I enjoy watching the crime series on primetime – my favorites are CSI New York and the original CSI (Vegas). Whenever they tell the family of a victim that they have lost someone, it always strikes me as very interesting the way the survivors mourn (in general). They dab their eye delicately, sob quietly and are almost always ready to answer questions concerning the crime in a clear, lucid and logical fashion.

How many of our own people can identify with that? Who cries like that back home? We all know the wailing and acrobatics that we associate with grief. But because the “oyinbo” way of doing things has dominated the airwaves for so long, we have all been trained to think of it as the “right way” of making film. Hence the overdramatic accusations that beset Nollywood! But that is why Nollywood movies are so loved. Seriously!! We are a loud, dramatic, emotional, outwardly expressive, in your face, no concept of personal space people. Under the overly sanitized concept of movie making, people like Patience Ozokwor, Nkem Owoh (welcome home from kidnap! LOL), or Sola Sobowale would not make it to the screen. But they made it, and they are superstars in their respective genres today. Tyler Perry has made millions (hundreds of millions actually), by recognizing authenticity and tapping into it (Fine, Madea is over the top, but you know what I mean!). I just recently watched “Madea goes to Jail”, and I can easily name 10 Nigerian movies that are much better than that movie in terms of dialogue and content (not technical proficiency of course), and yet it was a number 1 movie. Why? Because it struck a chord among a long ignored demographic. It’s not done by someone talking down at them, or somebody pretending to be them, but by someone who was (he’s rich now) one of them and speaks their language.

It’s the same thing with African film. No matter how beautiful the movie, no matter how technically proficient, no matter how fantastic the budget, or good the acting, people want to see themselves represented on the screen “as they are”. For too many years, we have had only the Euro-American view of the world on the big screen. They have defined not only how we view them, but also how we view each other. The story of Africa in Hollywood has been what Dambisa Moyo describes as the four horsemen of the apocalypse – war, disease, corruption, poverty. It’s been a very pathetic story. It’s the reason I have refused to watch “Tears of the Sun” up till today. I just got tired of that crap!

But Nollywood and other emerging African movie industries tell a different story. They tell ALL stories. Not just about war, disease, corruption, poverty, but also about love, marriage, loss, desire. Portraying Africans not just as a cause, but AS A PEOPLE. Even better is the way they tell this story: the format is dramatic, raw, bare, unpretentious, in your face; REAL! It may not be real to the average European, but it’s real to me, because I know those people. I recognize them, I connect with them. Every time Patience O plays a problematic mother-in-law, with her over the top antics and sharp tongue, I know which relative of mine she is portraying. And we all love having sex symbols that look like us. Genevieve is dark skinned and sexy! Yet, Rita Dominic is light skinned and the girl is hawt!! Point is, Nollywood connects on a visceral level and embraces all of us, as we are, thick or skinny, tall or short, light or dark, quiet or dramatic - its a broad umbrella. And the authenticity of the industry is most honestly reflected by the grass roots support it garners. When people who have no idea what is involved in moviemaking, who don’t understand movie-speak can look at the screen and say ‘That’s meeee!’, and they say that across a variety of cultures and continents, you know you have a beautiful thing going.

I bet when Nollywood first started getting recognized outside Nigeria, Africa’s NGO filmmakers laughed really hard, as did those in the larger industries – in Europe, in India, and in America – like who is gonna watch this crap? But after seeing the reaction from black people all over the world (and I mean everywhere from the Islands to Haiti), many copycat industries have started to spring forth. Ghana was motivated to resuscitate their movie industry when Nigerian movies flooded their airwaves. Now we have movie industries, based on the Nigerian model springing up in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia – all over Africa. I don’t know much about the movie industry in Haiti, and whether or not it predates Nollywood, but I can say that stars from Nigeria and Ghana are much loved in that country. In fact, Omotola (aka Omosexy) just shot a movie with a whole bunch of Haitian movie stars that is already going the premiere route and will soon be released. And even South Africans are planning to join in the fun with Jollywood.Here is an example of the planned output from this venture. Not sure how far along or successful they are, but Nollywood is setting the pace, and others are following along.

Does Nollywood need to improve? YES!! Please do not misunderstand me. I am a huge fan of the movies, I own a truckload of them, I watch them religiously, but I am not blind, or deaf, or stupid, even though sometimes it seems that our movie makers think the audience is some combination of all three. The industry needs to improve in every aspect – sound, editing (I tried to watch a movie this past weekend where the scenes were apparently recorded in reverse!!) costuming, make up, acting, you name it, we need to fix it! However, Nollywood is on to something very special, and very powerful. As we seek to improve these movies, I need to sound a note of warning to the movie makers – improving them does not mean making them like European and American movies. Please, do not clean up to the point that you suck out all the authenticity. Some of the better producers seem to think that improving a movie means following the “oyinbo formula” If they follow that path, they will lose their audience. Don’t try to follow the ALL the oyinbo rules (you need to follow some though! LOL) of what a movie should be like and how to cry on screen, and what is overacting, and all that good stuff. Improve the movies technically, learn how to decorate a set, get continuity right, don’t use cameras with pink dots, but yes, keep telling OUR stories OUR way.

So, I guess we have figured out why Nollywood and Tyler Perry movies are popular. If anybody can explain the frenzy over the Twilight series to me though, I would be much obliged! Speaking of the multimillionaire Tyler Perry, I actually think somebody needs to hook that dude up with Nollywood. He makes the exact same movies, only with far greater resources, so it would be a natural partnership. I suppose, if Nollywood gets its acts together technically, some of the movies will look like Tyler’s stuff? Is that good or bad, I wonder? LOL!!

Movie Recommendation: So what movie am I recommending this time? I have to go with Izu Ojukwu who is, in my opinion, rapidly emerging as one of Nollywood’s foremost directors. But he has to find the balance between improving his movies (as he is doing) and yet maintaining authenticity. While his style of movie making is right up my alley, I suspect it may not be too attractive to the core audience who love Mama Gee, and Sola Sobowale and Nkem Owoh, and Jenifa and all that kin’ drama. His movies are more thoughtful and introspective, and in my opinion, darned good.. Please check out The distance between, and white waters. I really liked them. I hope you do too.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nollywood and Piracy (Part 2)

Hi people,

This is the second and final part of the series on Nollywood and Piracy. Part 1 was posted earlier and can be found here.

So, where was I? Yes, I was talking about silly people posting brand new movies on youtube, just to get a few cheap thank yous while the producers suffer. But that is not the half of it. I have also come across bloggers who post brand new movies just to attract traffic to their site. Initially, I thought people did things like that out of ignorance. But I have since changed my mind. They don’t post Hollywood movies. They don’t even post Tyler Perry movies. They know they could get into all kinds of trouble doing that. So they try to bankrupt a growing industry to satisfy the desires of a few (actually very many) cheap consumers.

Alright, moving on to the fourth group of people killing the industry:

IV)Those would be the cheap consumers I was just writing about. It is very unfortunate, but many of our people don’t like to spend money to support anyone doing anything. Make we talk true jo. Our people like their stuff as free as possible.

An anecdote: When Tade Ogidan made his “OGD all Stars Jamz” – the dvd cd combo featuring a galaxy of Nigerian stars making sonorous music or trying to (*ahem* Ramsey Nouah *ahem*), the combo was selling for $10. Pretty reasonable for a dvd and cd combo right? Problem was that the product was shamelessly pirated and then sold for half the price. One of the legitimate sellers told me that they were selling it at a Nigerian event, and that people would buy from them, discover that someone was selling it for half price down the road (even if pirated) come and return the original, and go buy a pirated copy. Yes ke. Das rite. And all this youtubing and free uploading that we are complaining about sef, is it not our people encouraging it? Check under any trailer of any Nigerian movie on youtube, you will always find some cheap consumer begging for the full movie to be uploaded – even if the movie is widely available. And yet the whole thing is illogical – these are the same people who complain about the poor quality of movies. Our people say : soup wey sweet, na money kill am. How can they make better movies when you insist on watching the movies for free?

Na real wah!

So the problem is complicated. Myopic and uncreative producers + blood sucking pirates + idiotic youtubers + cheap consumers = bad nollywood movies.

Its not rocket science my people. If you want Nollywood to progress, we must as a people reject pirated products, either in Nigeria or abroad. And please, our producers, be a little more proactive and creative in making the movies available, you hia? Ehn? Using Ebay or Amazon is not that hard, believe me. Or stream your movies on your own websites. Or sell on your website. For example, Tyler Perry’s movies are on Netflix, in Walmart, and in theatres. And yet, if you go to his website, his movies are available there too. Yes, his stuff is widely available, so that pirates can’t really find any gaps in distribution to exploit (okay fine, they still pirate his stuff, but at least, he is able to make some money first).

So what am I saying? There is no hope for Nigerian movie producers? Weeeelll, change is acoming people. There is hope!! It turns out that if you are willing to invest in making a good movie, Nigerians are willing to go to the cinema to see it. Yes, the cinema culture is coming back – at least in Lagos, and some of our better local producers are benefiting from it.

For instance, I hear that Stephanie Okereke has been making a fistful of money with her movie Through the glass. Usually, movie theaters in Nigeria show mostly foreign movies, and snob all but the best Nigerian movies. Actually, they had to be wooed and persuaded (paid actually if the whispers are true) to show the better movies. I am guessing Steph’s passed the test and really glad that the gamble paid off. Homegirl is making a ton money! By the time it finally comes out on dvd, the pirates can no longer destroy her.

Kunle Afolayan is also following the same path with his movie Araromire, which I hear is really darned good. Actually, in addition to showing the movie in Nigerian theaters, he has also been premiering the movie all over Africa, the US and Europe. See details on the first US premier slated for next weekend here. Once again, he can make his cool money before releasing the movie on dvd. Good for him.

So is cinema the solution to Nollywood’s woes? This reporter seems to think so. Okay, so the article is hyperbolic, and not particularly well written, but it does send a message – that there might be a good return to making high quality movies after all. Hopefully the market responds appropriately – encouraging good movies like Kunle’s and Steph’s while leading to the sidelining of the more embarrassing Nolly products. We can only hope!

Other producers are also changing up their strategy For instance, Emem Isong, speaking on her new movie guilty pleasures in this interview explains why she had it released in the US first.

BA: I understand Guilty Pleasures has already been released in America.

Emem: That doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect sales in Nigeria. Remember we are over 120 million…some say 150 million. At least a fraction of that will buy or watch the film.

BA: why did you decide to release it in America first?

Emem: Because when you release it here, people carry it over there and pirate it. So we decided to go one step over the pirates and release it there first, before doing it here.

BA: So will the film be released straight to dvd like the others?

Emem: No, this one will be shown in the cinemas, precisely in SilverBird Cinemas in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Accra then it will be released on dvd.

Full interview here.

I am not sure if that is a good policy or not. The movie has already been extensively pirated, so she is going to have to come up with a better plan than that. Somebody has to come up with a more organized plan for distributing movies in the diaspora. No way should all that revenue be going to people who had nothing to do with the creation of the movie.

I close with some more ‘cheery’ news: I hear that the Chinese are joining the piracy party. They are now selling dvds that hold up to as many as 80 movies at a time. Heheheh! On the streets of Lagos o. Yes ke, one disc, 80 movies, and the thing sells for less than one original movie. I hear even the pirates are terrified by this new development. Na wah o! Some more on that subject here.

So what have we learned? We are all killing the industry. As much as lies with you, buy an original movie. Please. Support those who put in all that work. And if you think a product is bad, then respond by ignoring, not be pirating it. The principle is also same for the music industy . A lot of Naija music is now available on itunes and amazon. Stop downloading for free. Support the artistes!

Movie Recommendation: Now that I have fully introduced the industry, I am going to start closing my articles by introducing you to some of the better Nigerian movies out there. My first movie recommendation is the movie 30 days. I recommend this movie with this article because 30 days is a movie that actually largely escaped being pirated – mostly because it was widely unavailable. It was only sold via the movie web site. I think it was also the movie that re-introduced the premiere system to Nigerian cinema – it was premiered in London, the US and Lagos before being released on dvd. I have always wondered if they made their money back. But anyways, far as I know, it’s still available via the site. For a full review of the movie and information on where you can get it, check here.


Nollywood and Piracy (Part 1)

Nollywood is in trouble people. Yes, sound the alarm. BIG trouble. Why? Not because consumers have finally caught to the fact that they are watching the same story over and over in different incarnations (you know: you can’t marry that boy!), or because of the overdramatic acting (heheheh), or poor production quality (we know how to manage am), or any other such related factor. Nope. Nollywood is in trouble because of Piracy. Yes o. Piracy is the unfortunate parasite sucking the lifeblood out of the industry. Its funny, but tonight I was watching 60 Minutes, and they were crying about the way piracy is hitting Hollywood really hard. I just had to laugh. Dem neva see anything (They don’t have any idea what having a piracy problem really is). In this article, we will identify some of the factors that are responsible for this scourge in Nollywood. Be rest assured, there is plenty of blame to go around.

I)Producers and marketers:

I begin by blaming the victim: I could write an entire dissertation on the (failure of) marketing of Nollywood movies in Nigeria. It’s a complicated and depressing issue which is costing the industry bundles of cash, as evidenced by articles like this and this. However, there are attempts to do something about it , even if they are not working out as well as hoped. I however do not feel qualified to do that analysis, and I choose to leave it in hands more capable and knowledgeable than mine. Instead, I choose to focus on Nollywood in the diaspora, especially in the good old US of A.

It is obvious that Nollywood movie makers have no idea how large their “abroad” audience is. The sudden explosion in taste for African movies in general and Nigerian movies in particular seems to have caught them unawares, and 5 years and counting down the line, they still have no idea how to respond to their good fortune. There is in most instances, no real plan to make these movies available to audiences outside Nigeria.

In this post, I write about the three main legal movie distributors in the US. From what I have been told by reliable sources, those three started out as pirates – filling in the gaps when the real producers wouldn’t. However, with time, they turned (semi) legit. Now, they buy rights from the producers/directors/marketers for cheap (and I have been told that their terms are cheap enough to be downright exploitative – but at least they pay something abi?), then they sell in the US. This process, flawed though it is, only takes place for English language movies o. I have searched far and wide, and I am yet to find any legit seller of Yoruba movies in the entire US. NOT ONE!

So, here is the question I have to ask the crying movie producers (I ask it all the time, and am yet to get a coherent answer from anybody) – WHY IS DISTRIBUTION AND MARKETING OF AFRICAN MOVIES IN THE US AND EUROPE ROCKET SCIENCE? I really want to know. The pirates are doing it – why can’t you? You were smart enough to make a movie that people want to watch – why can’t you sell it? Even if you cannot set up a physical shop, what stops you from selling on ebay or There are now a plethora of African musicians selling their music on Amazon – from Lara George to P-Square; you can find their stuff on Amazon and itunes. Why not movies? Several rogues have been making a fortune streaming movies online for free and collecting ad revenue, or collecting a token amount from consumers (y’all patronize them, so you know who I am talking about!). What stops producers from streaming their movies on their own legitimate websites? Why? Set it up and advertise the site address. Those of us who love Nollywood will make noise in support. At least you can begin to get back some of the money and customers that are currently leaking from the system.

Every other person making money of Nollywood without contributing anything to the system are blood sucking parasites. Yes! However, the first real problem occurs with the movie makers. When people want a product, and it is not readily available, they will find other ways of getting it (remember prohibition? Na so o!).

II)The blood sucking pirates: When I first started watching Nigerian movies in this oyinboland, I did not know where to get them. So I googled Nigerian movies, and bought a whole bunch of movies from the first site I found. Meen, let me tell you what these pirates do. Once a movie comes out, they buy one original copy. They keep that copy in their shop, scan the cover and put it on their website. When a mugu like me places an order, they just burn a copy for me, put it in a cheap packet and mail it out. They sell these movies for between $4-$6 a pop. They have zero overheads, except for the blank dvds which cost $35 for a pack of 100.

Can you imagine that kind of sweet business? Na real monkey dey work, baboon dey chop o. And they are very difficult to trace. The most famous culprit, who streams the movies for free for ad revenue, I hear is based somewhere in Europe and is virtually untraceable. Some of those movies get hundreds of thousands of views. Can you imagine what would happen if even just a little of that revenue went to movie makers? Na real wah !

III)Then there are idiots who want to destroy the industry just so that somebody may say thank you to them. Yes, I am talking about the youtubers. A little anecdote just for fun: I was doing some research on a movie I wanted to review for my site , so I searched the movie on youtube. I was shocked to find out that a movie that had barely been available in the US for 3 weeks and had not yet been released in Nigeria was on youtube in FULL! What kind of an idiot does a thing like that?? Are you telling me that people are so stupid, that they do not realize – that perhaps the producer would like to make some money off the movie? Its not like the movie was not available o – I was able to get an original copy, and I live in the boonies. The producers were informed, they complained to youtube, and the movie was yanked off.

Update: It’s a week later, I checked again, and someone else has put it up. The movie already has over a thousand views too. Just fabulous!

When Daniel Ademinokan, one of the hottest directors in the Yoruba Movie genre and director of Omo Iya Kan, found his new movie on full blast on youtube, this is what he had to say:


I am very unhappy & dissapointed at d fact dat dis movie is barely 2 weeks in d market & 1 phsyco just uploaded it here!

You're all happy the film is of high quality & has raised d bar in d movie industry but do you think it came cheap? How do we make money when you all are watching it here free of charge!

May God have mercy on you for running down the? lives of hundreds of producers who hav made these films with sweat & blood!

Check out the trailer to the movie and see for yourself .

Dude was annoyed! And who can blame him? So, you have heard from the horses mouth: Stop putting new movies on youtube. It’s stupid, it’s subversive, and it’s destructive. What does anyone gain by doing that? Some cheap consumer will thank you? Blah!

(Of course you could ask – where can you find the movie? Heeheheheh – see point number I above!).

To be continued.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nollywood 101

Welcome to Nollywood 101.
I suppose you can think of this as some kind of syllabus? LOL! Some of you have been “abroad” for a while, and while you were gone, something happened. Nigeria’s best kept secret (aka Nollywood) exploded onto the international scene. And some of the actors and actresses associated with the industry have become international superstars. Yes, I said international – from South Africa to Jamaica, even to Haiti, African movie stars are revered, the same way Brad and Angelina are in the western world. While Nollywood has dominated the scene for most of this decade, other African countries have begun to wise up, leading to the resuscitation and expansion of movie industries in Ghana, Kenya, etc, etc.

My name is moviemadam, and my job, as regularly as I can, will be guide you into understanding the enigma that is this African industry – led by Nollywood. I will inform you of what (and who) is hot, what has changed and what needs to.
I know many of you have heard about this African movie renaissance, and you are wondering what all the fuss about. “Is it not those movies”, you ask, “with long drawn out scenes, poor sound, poor picture quality, poor editing, funny special effects, stupid juju scenes, etc?”. While some of that is true, let me tell you, times are achanging.. Most of the films are bad, true, and even the better movies are not Hollywood, or even Bollywood standard, but they are ours, and we will celebrate them. And nope, we are not celebrating mediocrity. There is a sizeable minority or producers, directors and actors who work really hard and do really well. They deserve to be celebrated and encouraged, and you will be introduced to these individuals in due course. After reading this thread , I am even more convinced of the need for some education about the movies that that emerge from the industry.

We will begin our introduction to the industry with a few documentaries that have been made about Nollywood by curious outsiders. This will provide a quick overview of some of the issues that we will eventually cover.

Nollywood started to attract attention from the West quite a while ago. While the characterization of Nollywood by these documentary makers is never completely accurate (in my opinion anways), I do think that it’s a good place to start our analysis.

This documentary below was made probably 5-6 years ago, by South Africans it looks like. Its not perfect, but it does throw the issues that the industry has had to face into bold relief. I think the Nollywood portrayed in this documentary is the way too many people still think of the industry today - in particular those of you wey don tey for obodo oyinbo (those who have been gone too long). My comments on some of the issues raised by the documentary are found below:

South African documentary on Nollywood

A few comments though about this documentary:
a) There was a time when Nollywood was mostly about gory ritualistic movies. That era is so five years ago! And I must also say that I have never seen or heard of most of the movies that are being featured in this documentary. Trust me when I say that the movies I will be pointing you to are MUCH, MUCH BETTER!!
Quick trivia note: King of the Jungle – was supposed to be quite good (for the period) - Reviews here. So I guess I need to go check it out. However I do not believe any of that crappy talk about $140,000. For where? Naija sabi make moutthhh! Some of today’s movies are starting to hit those levels in terms of budget though but I will bet my last penny nobody spent that much in 2003!!
b) Hanks Anuku? I wonder what happened to him. I have not seen him in anything more recent than 5 years ago. We will be talking about who today’s movie hunks and beauties are.
c) Today’s top stars live in LUXURY. Some of them have gotten endorsement deals that would make us all green with envy.
d) Stephanie Okereke is all grown up, and now VERY sophisticated – and by the way, she did not get the good shepherd role. Not sure why she auditioned for it though, looks like a pretty white movie to me (trailer)
e) The issue of funding is an important one. Remind me to talk about Project Nollywood someday.
f) The power of the marketers. That is a whole a whole book by itself. In 2005-2006, some of Nollywood’s top actors and actresses (10 of them to be exact) were banned for
a) charging too much, and b) insubordination;
a state of affairs that led many of them to take up singing. LOL. Remind me to talk about that another day too!
g) It is true, Nollywood squeezes water out of stone in too many situations – they are literally miracle workers. Too many issues to contend with – electricity being everybody’s albatross in that our country. They do mention a few others – traffic, crowds, etc. I once watched a pretty good movie where you could hear a pastor making noise in the church probably across the road. Na real wah!!
h) Censorship – either the censor’s board slaps an 18 rank on most of the movies out nowadays, or they have lowered their censorship standards. Some of the sex scenes now make me say Whoooooo!!
i) Not sure I have ever seen Nwadike’s work. The Oscar thing he was talking about – what?
j) Quick trivia note: Chinny Ahaneku, the lady director they started off with, was actually quite good in “Alice my first lady” as an actress, although the story kinda went to hell in the end (in my own opinion though) – more about that movie here:
k) Finally, LOL at the ending with the white guy being drafted into the movie. I wonder if he was paid?
However, there seems to be a huge problem with finding white people to act in Nigerian movies. The results have often been totally disastrous in general. Lebanese guys are often drafted and passed off as British, American, etc, etc. Hmmm!

There have been a few other documentaries, also focused on Nollywood. While I have not seen them, I have found the trailers to be very informative:

i) Nollywood Babylon, which I hear was not too bad:


ii) This is Nollywood (Saw this on youtube and decided to throw it into the mix)

So, as you can see, there is a lot to talk about with regards to Nollywood in particular and the African Movie industry in general. Some of the issues raised will make us laugh, some will make us cry (after all, Nollywood exists in Nigeria, not utopia), but hopefully, all of it will entertain you and awaken interest in this miracle that has emerged from our entertainment industry. And yes, I will also regularly recommend the better movies. You will be surprised by what is out there, believe me! I hope you enjoy this journey with me.


About Me

This website is devoted to fans of African movies who want to know which ones are worth watching. We only review above average movies on this site. The purpose is to give props to the actors, producers and directors who have squeezed water out of rocks and created decent entertainment against all odds. If you want to review a movie for us, please email We would be happy to feature all good african film, regardless of age, or origin. Thanks for stopping by