What is Nollywood, A Look at the Nigerian Film Industry

Nollywood is a term that originally referred to the Nigerian film industry.

I decided to write this for a couple of reasons. First I began watching some of the films a few years ago when I heard the term Nollywood one day. Living in Arizona and seeing so many  telenovelas from co workers and friends I noticed Nollywood movies I saw were very similar in look and content. Drama, Drama, Romance, Drama, Love…great stories if you love Romance, maybe not the best production, but worth it in the end.

The next reason I really got into the genre is I found out I am of Nigerian descent. So a deep dive into the culture I found I already liked many musicians from Nigeria and a sense of pride has developed in the Country. So it feels natural to work with the Nigerian Film Industry by sharing the films here on our site and writing this piece. Lets get into some facts I learned from Wikipedia and other sources. Please comment below if you can expand and help me and others learn more.

The cinema of Nigeria, often referred to informally as Nollywood, consists of films produced in Nigeria; its history dates back to as early as the late 19th century and into the colonial era in the early 20th century. The history and development of the Nigerian motion picture industry is sometimes generally classified in four main eras: the Colonial era, Golden Age, Video film era and the emerging New Nigerian cinema  We will look into the different eras on another blog. 

What Is Nollywood really?

Where the original word “Nollywood” remains unclear; Jonathan Haynes traced the earliest usage of the word to a 2002 article by Matt Steinglass in the New York Times, where it was used to describe Nigerian cinema

Definition of which films are considered Nollywood has always been a subject of debate. Alex Eyengho defined Nollywood as “the totality of activities taking place in the Nigerian film industry, be it in English, Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Itsekiri, Edo, Efik, Ijaw, Urhobo or any other of the over 300 Nigerian languages

Over the years the term Nollywood has also been used to refer to other affiliate film industries, such as the Ghanaian English-language cinema, whose films are usually co-produced with Nigeria and/or distributed by Nigerian companies.

So why did it take so long for any of us to hear about the Nigerian and West Africa film industry? I wont go into all that here, but one  thing you need to know is that the term is not accepted by all who are in Nigeria. It is seen as a form of colonialism which most of us in the Diaspora deplore. We will discuss the Nollywood 20 celebration and the conflict it brought up. 


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