Wednesday, 10 April 2013


Yvonne Okoro
Nollywood is in trouble. We open this session with this alarmist line, designed not to spread panic but to provoke reflection by those who care about my industry and the joy, recognition, fame and wealth it has brought to all of us who have been so fortunate to be players in this team.
I like football and one of the national teams that have always put a smile on my face and the faces of Nigerians is the female national team. Yes they never did rise to the pinnacles of greatness in the different world cups they have taken part in, but for years they bestrode the African continent like other national teams were brought to make up the numbers in football competitions. They achieved results like a 7-1 hammering of mighty Cameroon, a 5-1 mauling of Ghana, a 6-2 destruction of South Africa so it was best imagined what happened to teams like hapless Ethiopia and the likes of Benin Republic. Nigerians were so sure of a win every time the girls took to the pitch that the first question one asked if he came in from outside when the girls were playing was “how many goals have they scored?” It never crossed our minds that they could lose one day; then it happened. Ghana beat us 2-1, a fluke we said, Cameroon beat us, a mistake we all intoned,  South Africa beat us, an accident we thought but that was before Lilliputians like Equatorial Guinea put their fingers in our eyes and took our birth right, the African cup from us and we finally ran out of excuses.
So you ask yourself what is Reginald rambling about again today?. What does football have to do with Nollywood? Everything! Both are forms of entertainment, both have brought immense honour and recognition to our country and in both we are called the GIANTS OF AFRICA.
Nollywood, the Nigerian movie industry of course was birthed, nurtured and matured in Nigeria. Like fine wine we sent it out to the rest of Africa and used it as a tool for neo-colonialism. Africa started dressing like us, acquired and spoke our style of Pidgin English, dressed like us, imbibed our cultures and traditions. Even our cities in the hinterlands became massively popular. So when Peace Fiberisima nee Anyiam Osigwe introduced the African Movie Academy Awards(AMAA) we all smirked and tongue in cheek, we laughed at the rest of Africa. We felt that she should have just simply called it the Nigerian Movie Academy Awards. I mean which other country would win any awards in an Nollywood inspired award program apart from the home of Nollywood, Nigeria. What we did not understand is that when children grow, they leave home. And if the truth be told, Nollywood has left home.
At the 2013 AMAA awards, Nigeria won 7 awards out of the 21 given out. Good news you might say but consider the fact that out of those seven awards only one of them was in what you will consider the most serious areas of movie making. Rita Dominic picked up the Best Actress in a Leading Role award for her work in the movie SHATTERED. It is of note here that SHATTERED is a Kenyan movie. The six most important areas of film making went to people from outside Nollywood.
1.       Achievement in Cinematography went to South Africa with OTELO BURNING.

2.        Achievement in Screenplay, -my area of strength- went to Ghana with TIES THAT BIND.

3.        Best Actor in a Leading Role went to Ghana’s Majid Michael for his work in SOMEWHERE IN AFRICA, a Ghanian production.

4.        Best Director went again to South Africa with Charlie Vundla’s HOW TO STEAL 2 MILLION

5.       Best Film of course was also won by Charlie Vundla with HOW TO STEAL 2 MILLION
Rita Dominic.
Nigeria the film making giant of Africa like our Super Falcons, were left with the crumbs. So we all gather together in our offices and declare that AMAA has sold out Nollywood on the altar of afrocentricism. Those rhetorics are only but balm for our wounded pride, temporary anaesthetics for a permanent migraine that will not go away. This year a Ghanain/Nigerian Yvonne Okoro, working from Ghana has been nominated in five different categories and who is to say she will not win all. So a few weeks back we all jumped into the plane and headed out to Malawi on the auspices of the same AMAA we condemn, we dined with the President and she praised the work we are doing in Nollywood, temporary praise for a brand that is in trouble. Nollywood wake up before we become the minnow of African movie making. It will be sad if we gather again in Bayelsa State this year and give out our prices to the rest of Africa and all that we will go home with will be THE BEST CHILD ACTOR.    


  1. Almost everything that has a hasty beginning, has a hasty ending. Nollywood prospered when it did not have stiff competition and now that there are competitions everywhere, Nollywood cannot withstand it.

    One way to compete favourably in a competitive and saturated market like the entertainment industry is:

    1: Research your competititors products to find out their weak points
    2: Analyze your own weak points
    3: Bring out a unique product

    Nollywood needs to start structing its scripts to a three-dimensional script that carters not only for Africans in Africa but also for Africans in Diaspora and non-Africans. Doing this will not only give them an edge over their closest rivals, it will open up new markets for them as well as ensure that the outside world view Nigerian movies as "independent films" and not "home videos".

    Similarly, I believe that the time has come for Nollywood to put an end to marshalling out "50-100" home videos per week/month. Why can't the Nollywood distributors/Marketers and producers collaborate to produce at least one unique selling film ever quarter just like we do in the UK?

    Collaboration is the keyword!

    An important question is "Do the key players in the Nollywood industry even realise that there is a gaping problem in the Nollywood industry"?

    In addition, Nollywood works on "who you know" and not on "what you know"-well at least it worked that way years past (I don't know much about now). If it still works on the "who you know methodology, then it needs to change in order to allow budding Nigerian talents showcase their talents. It shouldn't be all about the money but rather, about creativity and innovation first.

    I know that I have mentioned this previously but there is no denying the fact that a good script with a good tagline, story plot and storyline, spiced up with great talents bedind and in front of the camera makes a good film.


    Don Kings

  2. @Don.
    Dear Don i just read your comment and i am enthralled by the depth of your understanding of the issues that are plaguing Nollywood even from the UK. In every respect you hit the nail on the head and I cry that most times my colleagues and 1 do not read or will not make out time to read some of these things we say so that things can start changing but we will keep talking, who know...!

  3. Uzodinma Okpechi10 April 2013 at 11:15

    What we have failed to learn in Nollywood is the organizational structure in filmmaking. How to shoot a movie and make sure all the departments are well taken care of IRRESPECSTIVE OF THE MOVIE BUDGET. Script, Photography, Sound, Set design, Costume design, Makeup, Locations and Props are areas of filmmaking that we should not joke with.
    When we realize that filmmaking is like a car engine that needs all its parts to function perfectly before you can ignite it and move the car then we will be on our way to truly achieving greatness in Nollywood.

  4. @Uzo. Again I agree with you. It all points to the fact that there is an absence of quality film education for the practitioners and that with all the noise we are making, most of the practitioners are ill trained. Now that you have mentioned i am not sure that any of the make up people working in this industry today are trained in that area. Just to mention a department.


  5. I am so happy that you,the champions of our time in nollywood still fight and press faward for the growth ,gateway and reactivation of our industry. For our champs to be involve in aggresive eradication of low quality so called directors and film makers.those redondant elements must be fustrated out. It means we are moving forward. Remain blessed.

  6. Like our football teams who loves fire brigade approach to any tournaments they participate in and expect to win against well prepared teams so is our movie industry o! What do u expect when we work under d mandate of an illetrate marketer who expects u to shoot a movie in 8days, edit in 2days n release 3days later? Dat is from pre to post production in 15days, n u expect to win awards? Guy pls!!! Na sidon look we go dey till Benin republic go pass o! Mc Miracle

  7. It is Morning Yet on Creation Day. Nevertheless,when an old woman falls twice, we check the contents of her basket.

  8. Good post like I will always say,but all the same AMAA has sold out and did not sell out too.We don't make good movies any more.The movies that made us all important were all low budget home videos shot on camcorders.
    We are just lazing about because we think we can do it on our own.Like what Uzo said,we have all failed in our various capacity as filmmakers because we never respected the organizational structures in filmmaking. We gave all to the actors and actresses because we thought they were the eggs that laid the golden goose.But now,it is the other way round.
    For example,we watch foreign movies without even knowing or minding who are the actors,but on our own part here in Nigeria is different.We looked down on our crew members and gave all to the actors.Now,the actors and actresses are over used and kicked out,allowing fresh faces to come in while the crew members are still very much present.We neglected quality.Even the Directors Guild of Nigeria(DGN) did not help matters cause they went as far as registering markets and all sorts of miscreants into the guild.I was very shocked when I saw a friend from Onitsha coming to elect who runs the guild.Pls Nollywood,we should be real to ourselves and the industry because a stitch in time saves nine .