BY OLU YOMI OSOSANYA
Nollywood. We all know the story; well, most of us; ok, maybe a few. A business man with a shop full of blank VHS tapes (look it up kids) decided that he wanted to do something with them, and had the epiphany to make a film. He put his team together, got his actors, had a script written and, BOOM, the first Home Video was made and a cottage industry was born. Many saw the benefit and joined in, and out of the desire to use up video tapes, we birthed our own niche film industry. A few years later, the Home Video Industry (you forgot we called it that, didn’t you) was dubbed NOLLYWOOD and the name stuck – a brand name that would create superstars (a few millionaires), adored across the continent and beyond, by Africans.
Because there wasn’t an abundance of funds, they had to use whatever resources were available, which meant low budgets, and films usually produced inside of a week. With it came criticism of the quality of some of the films, and the filmmakers responded with valid reasons. The budgets were tiny; there was no government support, no studios, soundstages or conducive shooting locations; you really couldn’t expect glossy productions that could rival what most of us were used to from Hollywood.
Wait, this sounds quite familiar.
LET’S REWIND A FEW DECADES.
Across the globe, 1958 precisely, in formerly Nazi-occupied France; A group of young film critics got tired of the rigid and clinical way of filmmaking, and the results that came from that type of filmmaking. They insisted on a naturalistic style, which broke many of the conventions of studio filmmaking, from lighting, to how the film was cut, to the movement of the camera, and awareness of the audience that they are watching a film. Thus was born the French New Wave and (Auteur filmmaking).
These rebels created a new cinematic style, invented breakthrough techniques of storytelling to express ideas important to them. Perhaps the most significant and inspiring thing was that, they proved they didn’t need mainstream industry to produce successful films on their own terms.
So you may be asking, what exactly is different about the New Wave, and what’s the connection to Nollywood that I’m implying here?
Read the full post on Shadow and Act.