Nollywood is a growing and thriving industry with so much potential. We have talented filmmakers, amazing actors and a country willing to give the industry a chance. Still, our movies find a way of falling short.
At the start of Nollywood, movies like Living in Bondage, Violated, Mortal Inheritance, Rattlesnake amongst others were instant favourites. People bought the VHS tapes and watched the movies with their families. Kids will go to school and chat about their favourite characters from the movie. The films did something Hollywood movies COULD NOT do: it told the Nigerian story. The stories were original and even though some were far fetched, people could relate to them somehow.
Fast forward to now, some of the stories became overflogged. Some began to focus on a particular theme. Our brothers in Idumota and 51 Iweka Road started producing, directing and even naming most of the movies (Example: Blackberry Babes, Tear My Bra, Lady Gaga e.t.c), creating a decline in the quality of the films. Something had to be done.
Now, there is a new crop of filmmakers in Nigeria with the desire to change the face of Nollywood. Their goal is to make quality movies that people of all ages can see and enjoy. These movies are supposed to be at par with Hollywood movies but something is missing.
Something called originality.
In the quest to be like these Hollywood movies, we start a copy and paste mentality. Our characters start to speak with a mix of the American and British accent, making them sound ridiculous. We bring storylines that don’t apply to the system here, making the movies very unrealistic.
Let me give an example
A guy takes a girl out on a date. After the date, he drives her home. He then asks if he can come in for coffee. Really? Seriously? Coffee? At Night? In Nigeria?
Ije is an example of a new nollywood film that did well at the Nigerian Box Office. The Figurine is also another good example of another movie that has done well. Maami by Tunde Kelani is also another successful new Nollywood film. What do these three movies have in common?
These movies were made differently and by different people but the characters were very relatable. The way they spoke, the manner in which they reacted to situations. Their accent. Everything was Nigerian.
I feel filmmakers, especially the young ones who are eager to “make a change” should take their time and write stories the Nigerian public can relate to. I feel young filmmakers should go to the experienced filmmakers and tap from their wealth of knowledge. There is so much more that we can do churn out mediocre second grade films with recycled storylines.
Nollywood can do better. Nollywood can be better. We just need to work a bit harder
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