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The New York Times Discovers Nollywood

The New York Times Discovers Nollywood

Well they had to eventually discover it sooner or later; but now that they have, all is right with the world. I'm referring to the Sunday New York Times article today about the Nigerian film industry and the Times' surprise that they've gone movie crazy over there.

Of course the article is more of an introductory course for those who have no idea that they're actually making films in Africa, and that there's something else is going on there besides wars and famine.

However, I get the smell of a somewhat condescending tone in the piece. You can read the article for yourself, which also contains a video about Nollywood as well, right HERE and tell me if I'm right.

This Article is related to: News


Ekenyerengzi Michael Chima

Before the emergence of Nollywood in the early 1990s Nigerians were making films and not home videos. Lest we forget, the history of film making in Nigeria dates back to 1904 when the first Nigerian film "Palaver" was shot in Jos. And we have been having collaborations with Hollywood since Ossie Davis (December 18, 1917 – February 4, 2005) came to Nigeria to shoot the film adaptation of Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka's "Kongi's Harvest" in 1971 for Francis Oladele's Calpenny Limited and "Countdown at Kusin"i in 1976. And even before then Segun Olusola co-produced "Son of Africa" in 1970 and Oladele's second film was "Bullfrog in the Sun" in 1972, the film adaptation of Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" and "No Longer at Ease", directed by a German Pohland Hansjürgen with the famous Princess Elisabeth of Toro, who was a lawyer in Uganda and a model in New York playing the leading actress role. Then there were over 100 cinemas in Nigeria. Notable Nigerian filmmakers like Dr. Ola Balogun, Chief Eddie Ugbomah, Jab Adu, Adesanya Brothers,Moses Olaiya, aka "Baba Sala", the late Adeyemi Afolayan, aka "Ade Love" and Chief Hubert Ogunde and others made films for the cinemas in the 1970s and 80s. So, Nigeria has come a long way before Nollywood videographers emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the popular video blockbuster Living in Bondage directed by Chris Obi Rapu, written by Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor, aka "Paulo" blazing the trail for a new era in Nigerian film history.


Part 1

Part 2


condescending enough that i didn't bother reading past the first page. i've been watching and aware of Nollywood for a few years now, don't need this author's opinion.

get these nets

not gonna read the article, but I have seen "Nollywood Babylon".

I thought it was a good documentary about the Nigerian film industry, recommend it to those who haven't seen it yet.

The Nollywood films I've seen have been like very bad B movies, very entertaining but for the most part bad films.
The cool thing is that the directors don't care about "critics", just as long as they make films that the people want to see. Tyler Perry goes by the same motto.


I definitely didn't read the entire article. Who wants to read 7 pages of a non-film expert's opinion?… :) I definitely thought that the 1st page was condescending though…I mean how are you gonna say that something is categorically 'awful'? @YemiJones you sound a little ashamed of Nollywood..why? I agree with BGuest in that Hollywood started out with even worse things that were racist and condescending in the midst of being bad acting, production and everything else (i.e. minstrels). Yemi you might need to do some research on that. @Monique, the west, concerning the east, is always late and uninformed. Had it not been for so many people disputing the claim the Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America, the article would have been proclaiming to have discovered and exposed for the first time ever Nollywood! All, I just started a blog- check it out you might enjoy it!

Yemi Jones

As a Nigerian I did not think the article was condecsending, it just gave an honest view of the industry as it currently is. The content of most of Nolywood films was very well described and they could have been a lot more hurtful if they wanted to. The truth is I'm a filmmaker who's background is Nigerian, but I never want to be considered a Nollywood filmmaker…


I thought the article was fair considering that it basically said that Hollywood was started by a bunch of pirates and upstarts just like many figures currently populating the Nollywood scene. Also it showed the way that Nollywood is evolving and the challenges it faces in terms of budgets and distribution. It was somewhat condescending about the content of the films in the same way that many of us are towards, say, Tyler Perry? Is that really a problem?


I agree that it had a condescending tone to it. Read this article last night, but what was far more interesting were the comments that followed. Ah well, NYT is a day late and a dollar short on this one.

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