Africa’s leading economy, Nigeria, has embraced the challenges of creating a film industry – Nollywood – that is markedly authentic, undeniably bold, and unapologetically true to its roots.
Despite the country’s recent economic woes, its film industry achieved an unprecedented feat with its highest ever grossing movie, The Wedding Party, which grossed N450 million following its 2016 premiere. The Wedding Party contributed significantly to the record-breaking N3.5 billion grossed by Nigeria’s film industry in 2016.
The CEO of Filmhouse Cinemas (which operates 11 theatres across Nigeria) and co-producer of The Wedding Party, Kene Mkparu says:
Cinema has become… a safe, fun, friendly outlet to ease the economic pressure.
As a $5bn sector, Nollywood contributed 1.4% to Nigeria’s GDP. So far, it has created over a million jobs. The relatively low-cost of production (between $25,000 and $70,000 per film) makes it very attractive to investors. Within two to three weeks of release (after a month of production) Nollywood films can be profitable.
In 2016, the Nigerian Federal Government expressed its interest in working with Japan and France to create animated movies for Nollywood.
The French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, stated:
There is a new market to occupy in Nigeria; that is why we want to make it more visible and cooperate to develop that segment in Nigeria.
The Nigerian government’s support of Nollywood may be instrumental in helping it diversify the Nigerian economy. The government’s N3 billion grant programme, Project ACT (led by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and Tourism), addresses several challenges faced by the industry. Specialist training programmes have been implemented for professionals in the industry in an effort to increase the quality of films made.
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