Whenever the name Nollywood pops up, what comes to mind is the impetuous approach towards movie production. In the past years, Nollywood has been more concerned with pleasing the crowd than creating quality content and cinematic standard movies. That is about to change with the rise of the new crop of independent movie producers in recent times.
While the industry is still faced with the challenge of good funding for movies and quality content, there is no doubt that the industry has seen a massive change when it comes to picture quality, editing, and better marketing for movies.
With the huge success of Kunle Afolayan‘s The Figurine in 2009 and Obi Emelonye‘s Mirror Boy in 2011 more independent moviemakers are taking the bold steps towards creating content that can compete favorably both locally and internationally – credits go to the two movies mentioned above that served as wet ground for a new crop of movie producers to bud. The industry has seen more success in 2019 than the previous years, with some of its movies making it to Netflix. All thanks to independent movie producers who are taking over the movie industry by surprise.
One notable movie from one of Nollywood’s finest actress-turned-director, Genevieve Nnaji, LionHeart was released on Netflix on the 4th of January, 2019. The movie was acquired on the 7th of September, 2018 by the online movie giant Netflix, making it the first original Netflix movie to come out of Nigeria.
LionHeart also enjoyed a great audience at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018. The movie made its way to the 92nd Academy Awards as Nigeria’s submission for the Best International Feature Film Oscar but was disqualified by the academy on the 4th of November, 2019 for excessive use of the English language. While this may seem a sad event to many, it’s actually a plus to independent movie producers in the country–both the established and upcoming producers.
The performance of the LionHeart is both a success story and a call to more investment in the Nigerian movie industry. It has proven that the area remains a fertile ground for independent movie producers to thrive. At the same time, it points out some of the areas independent movie producers need to explore for better international acceptance and better market maximization.
Amidst all the recorded success, the truth remains that the independent movie producers in the country are still faced with a lot of challenges. From poor funding–nobody wants to fund an independent movie even it has a great script–to poor marketing and exploitation of independent movie producers by the key players in the cinematic industry.
THE REAL QUESTION REMAINS: HOW CAN INDEPENDENT MOVIE MAKERS MAKE HEADWAY IN THE NIGERIAN SETTING?
The question remains unanswered today with independent movie producers faced with only a few options to explore. However, foreign collaborations can be one way to boost your career in the industry as an independent movie producer. Foreign collaboration can foster great ties, enhance knowledge and help them polish their skills and learn better ways of making interesting and impressive movies.
Another way to further aid independent movie producers and improve production quality is through brand sponsorship. While it remains a tug-o-war to get brand sponsorship for independent movies, all hopes are not lost. In recent times, some brands are stepping up to the risk to sponsor independent movies. This move had made some positive impact on the quality of movies we see today. Notwithstanding, the rate of involvement remains very poor when compared to the number of virgin talents yet to be explored.
The government is yet to show active involvement in the entertainment industry. If in the future, the Nigerian government decides to pluck a leaf from the Chinese experience and take further actions to boost the industry, the industry will receive a breath of fresh air. The government needs to strengthen antipiracy laws, even though a lot of progress has been made, a lot still needs to be done. One other way the government can also support the industry by direct investment in the industry through grants and loans and tax exemptions.
With the crisis that has torn the major Nollywood industry apart in recent times, thriving as an independent movie producer remains a good venture. With strong determination, planning, and collaboration, success in the industry is a stone throw away.
AudNews is the official blog for AudPop.com. AudPop provides filmmakers opportunities to advance their career, a short film library of 10,000+ titles, and a video marketing platform to provide video marketing services for brands, small businesses, nonprofits, studios, and distributors.