Monday, 18 May 2009

UNESCO report on Nollywood divides Moviedom

Reactions have continued to trail the recent report by UNESCO that Nigeria is the second leading movie producing nation. India is rated above Nigeria. While some Nollywood practitioners consider the survey as worthy of celebration, others feel it is not Uhuru yet. Moviedom presents some of the reactions...

Nigerian Film Corporation
The Nigerian Film Corporation played a major role in the outcome of the exercise through the data made available during the survey, whose result indicates that in 2006, Bollywood of India produced 1,091 feature length films while Nigeria’s Nollywood produced 872 films in the video format. The survey further revealed that ‘Hollywood’ (USA) came third with the production of 485 feature films. The survey showed how film and video productions have become vehicles for cultural identity, values and means to bring people of different backgrounds together while engendering economic growth and development.

The filmmaker Ola Balogun
These statistics are simply ridiculous! What is the use of quantity without quality? And can you compare the average Nollywood production with Japanese or Brazilian productions? No offence meant, but really, our would-be film makers and already established film and video professionals should pay a little more attention to operating at a proper professional level rather than indulging in all this hollow self-congratulating fantasy about being the “largest film production entity” in the world.

Jeta Amata, director of Amazing Grace
We are not the ones lauding Nollywood for producing so many films, it is the world that is enthralled at our dexterity and proficiency to foster something from almost nothing. We did not go around bragging about this, it is the world that invited us to every corner of the globe to talk about our creation. We have all made a decent living from this industry and quite rightly so, this makes me wonder at the negativities especially from our esteemed academics, who should be thankful to Nollywood for giving them a new case study. We need to keep the flag flying.

Filmmaker and documentarist, Mahmood Ali-Balogun
I think Ola Balogun’s admonition should be taken well. Yes, the novelty has been quite exciting and noteworthy, but guys can our works really be compared with those from countries mentioned in the report? We need to begin to work as professionals and pay attention to the necessary details in every production process! Right now, the attention should shift away from ‘how many to how well our films are made’.

Filmmaker Amaka Igwe
The UNESCO report was not all about numbers, it was also about cultural export and development. It talked about our Language films. It praised Nigeria for talking a cheaper option in telling her own story. It is a great positive article, written by UNESCO, a credible world organization, after a three year study. I always wonder what people want from Nollywood. If the films we make are bad, come teach us. Like Teco B said, make a film and prove your point. I have not made a film in 5 years, but I salute the courage of young filmmakers who trudge along and keep us on the map. I detest people who sit on the fence, running commentary and waiting for Godot. I think the article by UNESCO is positive.

Actress and singer, Stella Damasus Nzeribe
I am absolutely thrilled about the statistics. As a person who has grown within this industry, it is a huge thrill to me for such a body as UNESCO to praise our film industry. In as much as I believe that we should always be real in examining ourselves, let us not focus so much on the fact that there are problems that we don’t acknowledge. May I remind you that negativity, most often, breeds negative results. We need to recognise that we have fought battles of under-financing, lack of education, lack of government support and skepticisms of the private sector to support the industry. Compare the resources available to the people we are being compared with and the time they started. Would we criticize a five-year-old child for failing to meet up with the standards of the 50 year olds he is competing with? Please let us be reasonable in our criticisms and start doing our bit to change things instead of being negative about it. I am proud of Nigeria, and I am proud of my industry. Congrats Nollywood, I wish you in more recommendations.

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