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Useful Notes / Nollywood

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The film industry of Nigeria. A relatively new industry, having grown out of the development of digital film techology of the past two decades, Nollywood is today the world's second largest film industry in terms of sheer number of films produced (second only to the Indian film industry), and third in terms of total revenue (behind India and the United States). The name itself comes from a portmanteau of its country of origin, "Nigeria", and "Hollywood" in a similar fashion to that of Bollywood. It has been said that around two hundred home videos (especially CVDs) are churned out of Nigeria every month.

Nollywood movies tend to be very long, many discs long in fact! For this reason a film not having a sequel is almost unheard of, a fact that can be very helpful to filmmakers. Films cover a wide array of genres from histories to drama and fantasy and writers may draw inspiration from cultural traditions, religion (particularly clashes between Christianity, Islam and Tribal Paganism, which are prevalent in Nigeria) and Western ideals.

However, even with the advancement of technology the cinematography in general is still dreadfully poor, major complaints being the terrible audio and Special Effect Failure. With about fifty new flicks released each week and sold for a dollar per copy, most of which were shot on location in Lagos, for less than $100,000, reaching print runs up to a million inside of two weeks (after which competing with bootleggers becomes impossible), it's understandable that some producers don't feel a strong need to compete on quality. And this is without even taking into account the high amounts of melodrama, that aren't exactly to everyone's taste.

Nigerian films are sold all over Africa, and normally filmed in English, since it's a good middle-ground for the estimated 1,500 languages spoken across the continent. That's not the only strategy for expanding the potential audience; one director notes that he must have "a known face in each market:" a Kenyan actor to sell the movie in Kenya, a South African to boost appeal in South Africa, and so forth.

For a place to watch some Nollywood films see here.