Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Nollywood.
1. Nollywood is the colloquial name given to the Nigerian film industry.
Photo credit: Talawa
Although the first Nigerian films were made in the 1960’s it wasn’t until the 1990’s and 2000’s that the industry blossomed as filmmakers took advantage of digital technology and internet distribution.
2. Nollywood is bigger than Hollywood.
What what? Yep, Nigeria produces on average around 1000 films a year, putting it second place behind the biggest film industry, Bollywood, but ahead of Hollywood. However, the average Nollywood movie is produced in a span of 7-10 days on a budget between $7,500-13,000. Compare this to Hollywood’s average budget of $6.7 million per movie and one year production time!
3. Nollywood is the second largest employer after agriculture in Nigeria.
As of 2014, Nollywood was worth US $5.1 billion and makes up 5% of Nigeria’s GDP.
4. The industry is global and Nollywood films are available through Amazon, Distrify and iRokotv.
Not only does Nollywood feature prominently in African film Festivals, it has its own annual festival every summer in Paris called Nollywood Week.
5. For the first time in 2015, Nollywood movies will be eligible for consideration in the Oscars and will compete against 85 other countries for Best Foreign Language Film Award.
Ahead of the 2015 Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has approved a 12-man committee of Nollywood stakeholders, the Nigerian Oscars Selection Committee (NOSC), to consider Nigerian entries for the world’s most prestigious awards for films. Each year, countries with an approved selection committee may submit one film for consideration for the Foreign Language Film Award Oscar and out of all these international submissions, five films are chosen for Academy members to cast their votes and choose a winning foreign language film.
Nigerian actress Taiwo Ajayi-Lycette gets makeup applied before performing. Photo credit: Akintunde Akinleye for Reuters
The depth of the Nigerian film industry is clear in the range of topics explored in their films. However, the influence of Nigerian cinematography extends way beyond entertainment. So, next time you decide to rent a foreign film, consider that watching a Nollywood movie could mean several hours of entertainment as well as support for economic and democratic development abroad.