There is a Nollywood nobody wants. Nobody wants an industry full of touchy creative minds, overhyped movies and actors among others.
It’s 2017 and just like a new year wish list, I have put up a list of nine things nobody should want in the Nigerian film industry this year – a Nollywood no one should want.
“It’s Her Day” vs “A Trip to Jamaica”
Here we go;
1. Touchy filmmakers
Most Nollywood filmmakers are yet to understand the need for criticism, critics and a thick skin.
In 2017, it won’t be too much to wish for an industry that has worked out a way to handle criticism, without thinking of the word “hate” and “hater.”
Over the years, respected filmmakers have said several risible things in the course of defending their movie or talent.
We have all heard statements like “go and make your film before condemning me.”
2. Overhyped movies/actors
There have been lots of brilliant movies, which were not favored in cinema, simply because there was no pre-release hype surrounding it – nobody knew about them. They simply found their way in and were kicked out with a ’10pm” time schedule after they failed to do well.
Also, thanks to the hype phenomenon, lots of viewers got to see bad movies in 2016. Just like the entertainment scene in Nigerian, Nollywood is the definition of hype.
Most actors have their careers built on a hype they have created online and offline by attending events. Some actors have been fortunate enough to use social media and the mass media to create the needed hype to ‘grow’ their career.
While some hyped actors/movies turn out great, others are just what they are – overhyped and overrated.
3. Underestimating Nigerian audience
Nobody should want a film industry that underestimates its audience. Most Nigerian movies are made on the perceived opinion of an average viewer.
There is the belief that complex and thought provoking movies wouldn’t appeal to the broad demographic of filmgoers.
Nollywood needs to understand that there are a very large number of Nigerians who crave for original ideas and something out of their comfort zone.
A colleague of mine who has never been to the cinema to see a Nollywood movie is counting down to March for “Ojukokoro.” The movie doesn’t exactly have the star-power quality, it isn’t your everyday comedy movie, it is not conventional, but it has an audience. And with proper marketing, it would have a larger audience.
While well-made movies of every genre are appreciated, there is need for filmmakers to lose their ability to make vapid movies in 2017.
4. Creating Web and TV series that don’t deserve to be made
We had 2016 of great, good, average and poor web series. In 2017, it is paramount that some filmmakers take a chill on the production of crappy TV and web series.
Nobody wants to spend their data on a horribly overhyped web series. “On the Real” is probably returning for a second season this year and “Rumour Has It” will also find its way back. No one has said these shows don’t deserve a second season, but the viewers deserve better and should be considered while scripting, casting and directing.
5. Same faces on every movie jacket
Every A-List actor started as a ‘z-list.’ Most times in Nollywood, old faces are recycled because, yes, movie making is a business and there is need to make money, and a lot of filmmakers don’t believe they can make their money without the big names.
But, there are a lot of talented actors in the ‘new and Asaba Nollywood,’ waiting for a filmmaker to take a gamble on them. The movie “Just Not Married” features mostly unknown actors, yet, it gained international recognition through the Toronto International Film Festival, and also won several awards.
In 2017, there is the need for Nigerian filmmakers to discover talented actors who are patiently waiting to be discovered.
6. Slapstick Comedy
Being funny is difficult. Comedy as a genre is difficult; “A Trip to Jamaica”
and “Three Wise Men”
taught us that. Applying comedy in other genres for an effect is difficult; “The Arbitration”
and “King Invincible”
taught us that.
There’s a norm of using illiterates, poor people from the village, geeks, albinos for comic relief in a movie, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that until they are portrayed as mentally demented individuals.
A funny movie can be made and a funny scene created without the use of exaggerated characters. We hope our filmmakers get the memo this year.
7. An industry that doesn’t preserve history
You probably don’t know the first Nollywood movie Chika Ike featured in, but it’s fine, she probably doesn’t also know.
There are probably over 15 movies turning 20 this year, but going online, you would not be able to retrieve any information on those movies, because, there’s no history. Nobody documented this information.
An actor who is a registered member of AGN passes away and there is no information on him available online. But then again, the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) doesn’t have an active website. Have you even visited its Wikipedia page?
Most movies only have a trailer and a poster. Creating a Wikipedia page or a website for a Nollywood movie is still something very foreign and considered ‘irrelevant’ by most filmmakers.
There is a need to preserve the Nigerian film history. There is the need to create materials that would speak for the Nigerian film industry in years to come.
While it could be an impossible task to revisit the past and take note of every movie ever released, it is, however, possible to ensure that current films do not become future victims.
8. Broken Box Office system
A structure and system are necessary for the existence of transparency in the Nigerian film industry. Box office numbers should be accessible and not handled as classified files.
Until there is a system, numbers would be doubted and considered inflated.
While the issue of Nollywood’s box office system is a topic for another day, there is need to state that after 20 years, a system and structure that doesn’t seem political, should be in existence.
9. Absence of collaborations
Nollywood isn’t big on collaborations. But in 2016, the industry took collaboration to a different and applaudable level with Kemi Adetiba’s “The Wedding Party,” which is a collaboration between EbonyLife Films, FilmOne Distribution, Koga Studios and Inkblot Productions.
Niyi Akinmolayan also took a huge step helming the controversial collaborative short film, “Room 315,” a short film which sheds light on mental health.
Nobody wants an industry that can’t or wouldn’t come together to birth classics through collaboration.
What are some of the things you don’t want to see in Nollywood in 2017?