The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival Underground Railroad Film Series presents
THIS IS NOLLYWOOD
56 minutes, 2007,
The industry is wholly self-sustaining, receiving no foreign or government assistance. Directors of these films are proud to admit that their intended audience is the average Nigerian not international film festivals. There are an amazing 55,000,000 video players in
Before the rise of Nollywood, Nigerians saw mostly American Westerns, Hong Kong Kung Fu movies and Bollywood musicals. In contrast, Nollywood appeals to a hunger for indigenous stories with characters and situations audiences can easily relate to. The popularity of these films has spread across English-speaking
The Nollywood phenomenon is doubtless an expression of the resourcefulness and vigor of Nigerian society. But it also raises questions about the potential social impact of commercial cinema, especially in the developing world. Does Nollywood in fact depict daily Nigerian life any more accurately or incisively than
This documentary film is a partial but intensely focused image from a dense picture—the current cinematic phenomenon in Nigeria which its title proclaims. With an admirable sense of humor, it captures the gritty and confounding optimism that keeps Nigeria going, against all rational expectations. In its innovative approach to narrative and the contingencies of production characteristic of the industry, This is Nollywood becomes the drama it seeks to document, without losing direction.
Akin Adesokan, Indiana University
This is Nollywood captures the problems and dynamism of making movies in Nigeria while giving a vibrant introduction to this fast growing movie industry. Dealing with rainstorms, missing stars, and power cuts, we see the pressure on Nigerian moviemakers and the guerilla filmmaking they have invented to cope. As the director Bond Emeruwa says, “In Nollywood we don’t count the walls, we have learned ways to climb them”.
Brian Larkin, Barnard College; Columbia University