Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Nod to Nollywood

As Bollywood celebrates its 100th birthday and enjoys status as the largest film producer in the world, the second biggest film industry is one you’ve probably never even heard of. It’s not American, Chinese, British, or French – though chances are you’re more likely to have watched a movie made in one of those countries. And though we’ve got terrific filmmakers, New Zealand has a long way to go if it’s going to match the output of this small nation.

Nigeria’s Nollywood is going gangbusters, producing a whopping 2,500 movies a year for viewers across Africa, hence putting it in second place. Generally, the average Nigerian film costs about $15,000 to make. When you compare that with big Hollywood budgets (Django Unchained, which I rapped about recently, had a production budget of $100 million), you’ll understand why Nigerian’s are making films with what they’ve got. They film using affordable digital equipment and time on set lasts no more than 2 weeks. Final cuts bypass cinema, go straight to DVD, and the quick turnaround allows for movie-makers to create films based on local, topical issues and melodrama (“think Bollywood via Tyler Perry” – Time), which is very popular with viewers.

In 2003, Saatchi & Saatchi produced the film Critical Assignment for Guinness Africa as part of a campaign featuring the “African James Bond”, Michael Power, and at that time the Nigerian film industry was still pretty young. At 15 years old, it’s still very much a teenager, but there is truth that youth can teach us. With passion, the focus is more on doing than planning. It’s about getting ideas out there and circulating in the market. Failing fast, learning fast, fixing fast. And just making things happen.

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