Global Nollywood: The Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry

Global Nollywood: The Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry

Global Nollywood: The Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry

Global Nollywood: The Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry

Synopsis

Global Nollywood considers this first truly African cinema beyond its Nigerian origins. In 15 lively essays, this volume traces the engagement of the Nigerian video film industry with the African continent and the rest of the world. Topics such as Nollywood as a theoretical construct, the development of a new, critical film language, and Nollywood's transformation outside of Nigeria reveal the broader implications of this film form as it travels and develops. Highlighting controversies surrounding commodification, globalization, and the development of the film industry on a wider scale, this volume gives sustained attention to Nollywood as a uniquely African cultural production.

Excerpt

ALESSANDRO JEDLOWSKI

IN THE PAST TEN TO FIFTEEN YEARS, THE NIGERIAN VIDEO industry has grown exponentially. According to a UNESCO report released in 2009, it is now the second-largest film industry in the world in terms of the sheer number of films produced. Nigerian video films travel all over the world, transforming Nollywood into a transnational and global phenomenon. Like the Indian film industry, the role played by diasporic audiences in the production, circulation, and consumption of Nigerian video films became progressively more influential in the past few years. In their 2005 collection of essays, Raminder Kaur and Ajay Sinha suggest that Bollywood is now considered a transnational industry, a “Bollyworld,” as they dub it, in which local and transnational aesthetics and narratives and formal and informal modes of production and distribution find original interceptions. A look at the contemporary Nigerian video film industry reveals a similar process, even if it is still in its early stages.

Behind the rhetoric of Nollywood’s UNESCO-sanctioned success, the reality of the phenomenon is complex and richly nuanced. After an initial decade of prosperity, the immense popularity of Nollywood began to waver. The market became saturated, generating a negative spiral, which brought the industry to a critical impasse. Paradoxically, the international recognition of Nollywood’s success coincided with the worst crisis ever faced by the industry. This crisis hit the English video film–producing section, forcing it to experiment with new production and distribution strategies. The aim of this chapter is to analyze the role of the transnationalization processes within the broader context of the crisis.

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