Nollywood, as Nigeria's film industry is known, now makes over 2,000 low-budget films a year, about two-thirds of them in English. That is more than either Hollywood or India's Bollywood.I had never heard of Nollywood before. And yet another sign that the fears of globalization leading to an Americanification of all media content is way overblown.
Today, filmmaking employs about a million people in Nigeria, split equally between production and distribution, making it the country's biggest employer after agriculture, according to the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB). The industry has sales of $200m-300m a year.That is amazing that it is the second larger employer after agriculture. Not sure if I should be a) skeptical of its validity, b) amazed that it could employ that many people, or c) worried about all other facets of Nigeria's economy. Given that they have lots of oil, it is great to see an industry like this pop up and help them avoid the oil curse.
I wonder what the movies are like?
Oddly enough, the government worries that Nigeria's film industry reflects badly on the country. “When I travel abroad, people complain to me about the voodoo themes and the poor technical quality compared to Western movies,” says Emeka Mba, director-general of the NFVCB. He wants to try to show filmmakers that the themes they choose can have a negative impact on Nigeria's image. Many Nigerian films involve witchcraft, or “juju”, because marketers have found that it sells especially well. Plots often use black magic as a way to explain why a man has gone from being poor to a millionaire overnight, says Onookome Okome, associate professor of African literature and cinema at the University of Alberta. Such a theme resonates in a society with great inequality of wealth.Hmm, maybe something to check out.
via The Economist (subscription required)