This piece should have been out last week, but for two reasons. One, after the AMAA awards, some of the foreigners who attended might get to read it. It is not for them.
Secondly, after the awards, I was so angry about Nollywood’s performance that if I had written anything at that moment, I might have added sentiments to it.
Now AMAA is over and all has simmered in the industry. Many are licking their wounds. Some have taken it as a big lesson while some movie makers do not care. It is business as usual for them.
For those who did not follow the event, the African Movie Accedemy Awards (AMAA) this year was the worst ever for the Nigerian movie industry. Out of over 25 categories, Nigeria could only win three. This is coming from an industry which sees itself as the third largest movie industry after Hollywood and Bollywood. Yet the quality of what we churn out is nothing to write home about.
Only a handful of movie makers can boast of an international grade movie. The rest just want to sell compact discs. The only reason they produce the so-called movies in the first place is to have something to put on the compact disc so that they can sell.
The hype about Nollywood has reached a peak and many African movie makers want a piece of its cake. In 2008, CNN did a documentary on Nollywood. They described Nollywood as a $2bn industry. Since then, other African movie makers have stepped up their game. Ghana was the first to step up their game. Last year alone, they got the same nominations as Nigeria.
The issue however is not about producers from other countries but about many Nigerian movie makers not doing good jobs. One of the major problems is the duration with which films are made. No matter how many professionals work on a movie, if the movie is done in just two weeks, it will be below standard.
I am not a movie maker, but studying movies over the years, one finds out that movies that are done carefully and not in a rush usually come out well. Viva Riva, the Congolese movie that swept AMAA this year was done in five years. Even the only movie that salvaged Nollywood at the awards this year, Aramotu, took three years to make.
That being said, many Nigerian movie makers are raising the bar with their works. Last year, many films made it to the cinemas, and that is a big leap. More however can still be done. Nominee Joe Ben agreed that 2011 AMAA is an eye opener to Nollywood. Let’s hope we take a cue.