It is no longer news that the Nigerian film Industry popularly known as Nollywood is the third largest film industry in the world. But in spite of the billions of Naira spilled annually, it is far from being well organized to take advantage of its achievement and hug potentials. As a result, it continued to trail behind its us (Hollywood) and Indian (Bollywood) counterparts respectively.
The days of the late Hubert Ogunde who is described by experts and critics as the father of modern theatre in Africa saw the emergence and revival of stage plays. Ogunde rose to the peak of his career through his highly successful celluloid movies such as Aye sayesimi and Aropin N’ tenimyan which he took round the country and the world.
Other movie-makers in the country like moses Olaiya aka Baba Sala, Ola Balogun, Eddy Ugbomah etc also came into the scene. Their contributions into the glaraorous and money-spinning world of movie-making paved way for others to follow.
In spite of the seeming interest of movie-makers, celluloid is still restricted business. Only a few who had the money could venture into it.
So, with the advent of technological advancement the VCR/VCD home video etc became the popular channels of entertainment. Improved television programming did not help matters. By the time satellite movie channels and the internet were introduced, the cinema halls took the back stage.
Granted, the role played by technological advancement helped to render celluloid movie making in Nigeria comatose. But the role played by successive governments were the major roadblock that hindered the growth of the sector.
Celluloid is a highly expensive business. Only the government and other corporate organizations can revive the sector. But unfortunately, the movie industry or any other area of the arts and culture is the last thing on their minds. The government culture policy that says there should be a theatre in every local government area has been swept under the carpet.
Despite government’s intransigence and insensitivity to the movie industry, the home video industry has recorded tremendous progress over the years. It got hold of the nation like panama weed and before anybody could grasp what was happening, it had become a booming business.
The success of the movie industry today can be attributed to the people involved. The popular Ibo traders were ready to risk their money and live for it. So, no matter what anybody say about the quality of home video, they still receive wide acceptance.
Despite the success that has been made so far in the Nigerian film industry, it is bedeviled by so many problems. The actors are grossly under-paid except for a few who have gained popularity over the years. Therefore, most actors are forced to accept many scripts at the same time to make ends meet.
On the part of the producers, they use whatever amount available for productions. In fact, a producer came to Benin recently to shoot a movie and paid most people one thousand naira. He even expected the artistes to be grateful for giving them the opportunity to take part in his film. All these result in sub-standard productions.
This is not to say that some of our movies cannot stand beside some of the best in the world. A lot of good films have been produced here in Nigeria.
In fact, a lot of stakeholders and the National film and Video censors Board (NFVCB) are trying to fashion out ways to re-define the industry. With series of meeting held all over the country, an acceptable distribution framework will eventually be put in place. Time will tell.