Nigeria has a movie industry called Nollywood, but this industry is still at its infancy although it was born in 1992 when Nigeria’s first home video movie was shot (living in bondage). Ever since that movie was shot it has been wave after wave of movies been thrown at the Nigerian public without the producers considering the risk of compromising quality.
Nigerians love to watch their local soup operas and home videos hence there is demand for local movies. Unfortunately not much can really be said about Nigerian movies or soup operas since majority of them are of poor quality. Poor story line, poor editing, poor directing and poor execution, no wonder some people say Nollywood movies are school dramas recorded on videos, so unprofessional. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few making it already (I mean professionally not financially). The likes of Genevieve Nnaji, Stephenie Okereke, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Ini Edo, Mercy Johnson, Rita Dominic, Funke Akindele and Monalisa Chinda are among Nigerian movie divas that are professional. The men have a few also flying the Nigerian movie flag high (Desmond Elliot, Ramsey Noah, Nonso Diobi, the late Sam Loco Efe, Pete Edochie, Jim Iyke and Osita Iheme).
Generally speaking Nigerian movies can be classified in terms of the audience they appeal to the most for instance we have;
These movies are shot and packaged for the Yoruba speaking audience of south west Nigeria. Many of these movies are centered on superstitious beliefs, moral lessons and social ills that threaten the collective or communal well being. Sometimes the movies may have a comic theme but that is rare. The movies are usually sub titled in English and to me not very entertaining.
These movies are even worse than the Yoruba movies because they are usually an all comers affair. Anyone can act in most of these movies although some smart marketers know that repeating some faces in their movies will help them sell some. It should not be surprising to discover that out of say 10 movies released a particular set of actors or actresses keep appearing as if there is a law that says they must act major roles in those movies.
These to me are the worst possible movies you could ever watch with the exception of a few that may measure up a bit to the Yoruba and English movies. Majority of them are real crap, making you laugh not because the movies are comedies but rather because they are ridiculous. Their movie effects or film tricks will make you laugh your heart out, the acting is too obvious, I mean if you’ve ever watched Ocean 11 you would think that George Clooney must be an expert thief in real life but not so with this class of actors, many of them give themselves away. Most of the movies tend to repeat themselves in different variations.
But even with all these criticism, I will still commend the enterprise of many Nigerian movie producers who still have to battle so many challenges such as piracy which really eats away their hard earned money and threatens their investments, no banks in Nigeria today support this business in any way, government support is equally disappointing to say the least. Also the absence of an effective marketing and distribution system plus the exploitative nature of marketers who call the shots in the movie business all compounds the problem of producing quality movies meaning that producers and actors would have to do many movies to really smile to the bank.