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Exporting Nollywood: Nigerian Video Filmmaking in Europe

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Part of the Global Cinema book series (GLOBALCINE)

Abstract

When Kenneth Nnebue, a Nigerian electronics dealer, produced the film Living in Bondage in 1992, he probably had no idea of what its release would represent 20 years later. But today, among Africans of all nationalities, the title of this film is synonymous with the birth of the largest entertainment industry in Africa.’ The Nigerian video film industry, commonly referred to as Nollywood, is indeed considered to be one of the largest film industries in the world.2 The films produced there circulate all over Africa and throughout the African diaspora in Europe and elsewhere.3 To many, the emergence of the Nigerian video industry represents the most important event in the recent history of African media. The video industry has managed to develop autonomously without any support from the government. It created independent and informal systems of production, distribution, and exhibition, which enabled the production of low-budget films that were released straight to video and watched in most cases at home or in informal neighborhood screening venues.4

Keywords

  • Distribution Strategy
  • Production Company
  • Production Study
  • Shadow Economy
  • Double Occupancy

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. Living in Bondage was not the first video film released in Nigeria. After the collapse of the local celluloid film industry in the mid-1980s, a number of video films were produced, particularly in Yoruba. Nnebue’s film, however, was the first to achieve widespread commercial success and it marked the beginning of what would later become the Nollywood video industry. See Jonathan Haynes, ed., Nigerian Video Films (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000).

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  2. UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS), Analysis of the UIS International Survey on Feature Film Statistics (Montreal: UIS, 2009), accessed April 8, 2013, www.uis.unesco.org. The term Nollywood was introduced ten years after the beginning of the video phenomenon by a New York Times article. It was initially rejected but local fans and media gradually adopted it. It is often used to refer to the entire Nigerian video phenomenon but many critics now prefer to limit its use. They therefore only use the term to refer to Nigerian videos in English or pidgin (creolized English) that are produced in southern Nigeria and differentiate them from the local language production that takes place in other parts of Nigeria. See Norimitsu Onishi, “Step Aside, L.A. and Bombay, for Nollywood,” New York Times, September 16, 2002.

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  3. Pierre Barrot, ed., Nollywood: Le phénomène video au Nigeria (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2005);

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  4. Haynes, Nigerian Video Films; Jonathan Haynes, “The Nollywood Diaspora. A Nigerian Video Genre,” in Global Nollywood: Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry, eds Matthias Krings and Onookome Okome (Bloomington: Indiana University Press 2013), 73–99.

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  5. Brian Larkin, Signal and Noise: Media, Infrastructure and Urban Culture in Northern Nigeria (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008);

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  6. Ramon Lobato, Shadow Economies of Cinema: Mapping Informal Film Distribution (London: British Film Institute, 2012); Onookome Okome, “Nollywood: Spectatorship, Audience and the Sites of Consumption,” Postcolonial Text 3, no. 2 (2007), accessed April 8, 2013, http://journals.sfu.ca/pocol/index.php/pct/article/view/763/425.

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  30. Here, I am implicitly referring to Dipesh Chakrabarty’s work and to the range of processes that it has helped to identify and interpret. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).

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© 2013 Petr Szczepanik and Patrick Vonderau

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Jedlowski, A. (2013). Exporting Nollywood: Nigerian Video Filmmaking in Europe. In: Szczepanik, P., Vonderau, P. (eds) Behind the Screen. Global Cinema. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137282187_11

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