Film industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world economy, it has huge impact on African consciousness both on the continent and Diaspora, Chinyere Okoye looks at film industry after three decades of being on the doldrums that awakened mixture of technology, determination and opportunity.
Despite deficiencies, Nollywood has been able to project a measure of Nigerian identity to the World especially today where brands have become an important form of currency in global market.
Today, Nollywood have better equipment for production, better trained people are equally involved in this business than before. You can’t compare the quality of the pictures they had then to what they have today.
The most commonly accepted risk of globalisation is that as more people around the world become better educated, more open-minded, more acceptable to new changes, eventually, they lose their national identities as a price of accepting globalisation, as the media reduces the presence of the national.
The term "film industry" is generally used to describe an umbrella of creative industry production activities including film, television (drama and documentary), commercials, stills photography and multi-media.
In an increasingly shrinking global village, where ideas, information and media determine not only the growth of a nation or countries today, Nigeria is locked in an often not too subtle battle for the control of those ideas and knowledge that are critical for social and economic growth. In this new world where nations and culture clash everyday, cultural forces are beginning to play a more vital role in determining the growth and economic progress of a nation.
Presently, Nigerian filmmakers churn out more productions than anywhere else in the world. In 2007, 1687 movies were shot in various locations across the country, creating jobs and skills. Economically, film industry turns over billions and generates millions of jobs worldwide.
In Nigeria, it has been argued that film industry generates over N30 billion worth of economic activities. If it's accepted by business moguls driven by profit that movies can influence significantly commercial decisions and associated conduct, then its should make common sense that movies can be a potent agent for positive social change. During the colonial days, the old film units were used purely as agents for acculturation or social change.
Today, more than any other time in human history, people not only know what is going on around the world and more familiar to other cultures through multi-media such as news, radio, music, film, and internet, they often demand it as their "democratic right".
As one movie industry analyst surmised, "the many business leaders around the world who make such decisions, are not so imperceptive that they would invest $100 million dollars in motion picture-related promotion for a single film without a solid basis for knowing that movies influence human behavior, at least some of the subsequent lifestyle and commercial choices of those moviegoers"
Nigerian film industry may be poised for further growth if the right investments to improve quality of talent, production and distribution are made.
To properly locate the importance of motion picture to social or cultural development; it is first important to understand that the motion picture is and always has been more than mere entertainment.
Nevertheless, some stakeholders said, Nollywood has taken stories that were original in the nineties and early 2000s and told them so many times that now we are now exhausted. So perhaps part of the "betterness" comes from the fact that the stories were relatively fresh and thus more exciting.
The truth is that all movies send messages of one sort or another, all movies communicate ideas. And if movies communicate ideas, and it is believed that ideas have always and will always be a significant source of motivation for human conduct, it further demonstrates the power of social change that movies have.
Vast majority of them contain ritual scenes, graphic violence, foul language, denigration of Nigeria, prejudicial portrayal of certain ethnic groups, and the abuse of some cherished institutions. It's important to understand that these are Nigerian films, "so we should not complain when Hollywood or the Western media does same, because we already doing enough damage to ourselves."
Prof Dora Akunyili blamed Nollywood filmmakers for focusing on 419 and voodoo without paying attention to the good things about Nigerians. Which films, if any, has our minister been watching?
It is clear on what government requires of Nollywood: ”We want extra commitment from Nollywood to stop projecting Nigeria negatively. We plead with you to project Nigeria. We cannot hide them but let us also portray the good things we do, so we do not allow a few individuals to incriminate our innocence“, the minister said.
While Nollywood is giving Akunyili and government “extra commitment”, what will Nollywood get from government? Stable electricity, better infrastructure, funding or free corruption government?
She went on to say “if Nollywood had focused more on the financial contributions made by civil servants to the apartheid struggle in the 70s in their films, present generation of South Africans would not hate us this much”.