Nollywood is the name attributed to Nigeria's movie industry. By definition it is Nigeria's movie industry by Nigerian production teams for the Nigerian people. Nollywood has over the years become a world phenomenon, as its movies are being sold in Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa as well as Jamaica, USA and the UK to name a few.

Now the name itself had caused a bit of a protest in the earlier days, as a lot of Nigerians felt it was imported and derived from Hollywood and Bollywood. (Not really a bad feat as these are the two heavyweights in the international movie industry) There was also that little issue of the name being coined by a foreigner, some didn't like it, but the good thing is that Nollywood as a name has moved far beyond these earlier hiccups, no-one actually thinks twice about the origin of the name today. It has become accepted that Nollywood applies to the Nigerian Movie Industry. Today Nollywood ranks third in the movie industry after Hollywood (USA) and Bollywood (India). It has been able to hold its own despite many deterrents, which to name a few include, expensive technical tools of the trade, inconsistent supply of electricity (which is taken for granted in almost every other country in the world), the horrible traffic-jam conditions which can lead to extreme lateness in production times (but the "show must go on"!)

Nollywood movies are made on shoestring budgets ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 a piece spanning 7 to 10 days (an incredibly short & jam-packed production schedule by any standard). However, what makes the industry so unique is that it is a video driven industry - the movies in the early days were produced and put straight on VHS cassettes and then released/ distributed for sale to the public. Now with improved technological advancements, the movies are released on VCD's, something the public refer to as "home videos".

You can learn more about Nollywood here. Also, the Cinema of Nigeria on Wikipedia.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW!

WATCH THE NEW NOLLYWOOD!

Slowly but surely, a new consciousness is creeping into the Nigerian movie industry, popularly known as Nollywood. This is represented by professionally shot and produced movies like The Figurine,IjeThrough the Glass and Tango With Me. Aside from the fact they were shot on MM 35 and gulped huge sums, they are fixtures at film festivals around the world. 

Rated E has seen fit to put our stamp on what we consider quality Nigerian movies. As titles become available, we'll put them up on the site. In time, I hope to compile a list of not only Nigerian films that are outstanding, but movies from all over Africa including Shorts and Documentaries.

Notable "New Nollywood" films include:

 

Mirror Boy is a Nigerian fantasy adventure drama film written & directed by Obi Emelonye, produced by Patrick Campbell and starring Genevieve NnajiOsita Iheme and Edward Kagutuzi. The film which was shot in England and The Gambia, received 3 nominations at the 2011 African Movie Academy AwardsThe film tells the uplifting story of a young teenage African British boy who is taken back to the land of his mother's birth, but then gets mysteriously lost in a foreboding forest and embarks on a magical journey that teaches him about himself and the mystery of the father he has never seen.

 

Ijé is a Nigerian-American drama written by Samuel Tilson & Chineze Anyaene, produced by Paula Moreno & Chineze Anyaene, directed by Chineze Anyaene and starring Genevieve NnajiOdalys García and Omotola Jalade-EkeindeThe story is about Chioma (Genevieve Nnaji) who travels from Nigeria to the United States to aide her sister Anya (Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde) who is being charged with the murder of three men including her own husband.

Anchor Baby is a Nigerian drama thriller film written, directed and produced by Lonzo Nzekwe and starring Omoni Oboli, Sam Sarpong and Terri Oliver. At the 2010 Harlem International Film Festival in New York, the film won the award for Best Film andOmoni Oboli, the main protagonist of the film, was awarded the Best Actress award. The film is nominated for 2 African Academy awards at the 2011 African Movie Academy Awards. A married Nigerian couple, Joyce and Paul Unanga, living undocumented in the United States, has been ordered to leave the country by U.S. immigration. They decide that they will leave, but only after Joyce, who is five months pregnant, delivers her baby in the United States to guarantee automatic U.S. citizenship for their child.

Tango With Me is a contemporary story about forgiveness about some of our core values as a people and our faith. Lola and Uzo are the perfect couple, their newly married life in front of them. All is well until the happiest day of their lives became the worst.This event leads the couple on a journey of self discovery.

Tango With Me It is a story that proves that above all, Love does indeed, conquer all. Written, produced & directed by Mahmood Ali-Balogun, the film starsGenevieve Nnaji, Joke Silva & Joseph Benjamin to name a few. Tango With Me was also nominated for 5 awards at the 2011 African Movie Academy Awards.

Maami is a story set over a two-day period leading to the 2010 World Cup that deals with the love between a mother and her son in the midst of poverty and deprivation. Years later, after becoming a household name in international football and a national hero Kashy, the son, returns and has to come to terms with a painful childhood, complete with an estranged father. The film is an adaptation of playwright Femi Osofisan's novel of the same title. The cast includes Funke Akindele, 2008 Amstel Malta Box Office winner Wole Ojo, and, in his first cinematic role, the up-and-coming Ayomide Abatti who plays the young Kashy.

An award-winning short film by writer & director Ishaya Bako, Braids on a Bald Head is the story about a day in the life of a Hausa hairdresser in Northern Nigeria and how she is able to ask for better in her marriage after an experience that questions her sexuality. Produced by Oliver Aleogena and cinematography by Clarence Peters, it was shot in Kaduna, Nigeria, with an all-Nigerian cast.

Inale is the beautiful daughter of the great King Oche, of the Idoma people in Idomaland, Nigeria. Her beloved Odeh must win the wrestling tournament to win her hand in marriage. A stranger appears, that challenges not only the tradition of the village but the strength of Odeh and Inale's true love. Inale is a tale about true love, betrayal, family, duty and tradition; the first Nigerian musical ever on the silver screen.

The Figurine is a 2009 Nigerian film written by Kemi Adesoye and produced & directed by Kunle Afolayan who also stars in the film as one of the main protagonists. The film received 10 nominations and won 5 awards at the African Movie Academy Awardsin 2010, including the awards for Best Picture, Heart of Africa, AMAA Achievement in Cinematography andAMAA Achievement in Visual Effect.

While serving at a National Youth Service Corps camp, two friends find a mystical sculpture in an abandoned shrine in the forest, and one of them decides to take the artwork home. Unknown to them, the sculpture is from the Yoruba goddess Araromire which bestows seven years of good luck on anyone who encounters it, and after the seven years have expired, seven years of bad luck follow.

 


 Other African films you should definitely consider watching include:

Somewhere In Africa is written and directed by Frank Rajah Arase with Kwame Boadu as Executive Producer, Louis Aquahman & Martha Ankomah as Associate Producers, Screenplay By Pascal Amanfful and Adams Umar as Director of Photography.

The relevance of the movie to the current state of affairs in Africa coupled with the fact that it features some of the best talents in Africa should tell you that you are about to see a blockbuster coming out of Ghana.

JOZI KINGS

Set in the heart of the hustle and bustle of down town Johannesburg is an undercurrent of crime, a world where only the strongest survive. For those who dare, this is a world of abundant wealth and success. When Chuks arrives in Johannesburg with the hope of changing his life for the better, little did he know that soon he would be riding the raging bull of drug smuggling, love and betrayal to eventually become the KING OF JOZI.

Pumzi is a Kenyan science fiction short film written and directed by Wanuri Kahiu. It was screened at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival as part of its New African Cinema program. The project was funded with grants from the Changamoto arts fund, as well as from the Goethe Institut and Focus Features' Africa First short film program which are also to distribute the work. Kaihu hopes to expand the short into a full-length feature.

 

From a Whisper is a Kenyan drama film written and directed by African Movie Academy Award winner Wanuri Kahiu. The film received 12 nominations and won 5 awards at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2009, including Best Picture, Best Original Soundtrack, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and AMAA Achievement in Editing.

Even though the film commemorates the 10th anniversary of the August 7th terrorist bombing in Kenya in 1998, the film is not about the terrorist bombing. The movie portrays a realistic story of the bombing aftermath by capturing the lives of the victims and their families who had to pick up the pieces of their lives shredded by the blast.

Sinking Sands is a 2010 Ghanaian drama film written, produced & directed by Leila Djansi, and starring Jimmy Jean-Louis, Ama Abebrese & Yemi Blaq. The film received 9 nominations and won 3 awards at the 2011 African Movie Academy Awards, including the awards for Best Screenplay & Best Makeup. The film tells the story of a couple, Jimah and Pabi, whose marriage turns into violence and abuse when Jimah becomes disfigured in a domestic accident.

                 

 Viva Riva! is a Congolese crime thriller film written & directed by Djo Tunda Wa Munga and  starring Patsha Bay, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna, Marlene Longage, Alex Herabo & Diplôme Amekindra. The film received 12 nominations and won 6 awards at the 7th African Movie Academy Awards in 2011, including the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography & Best Production Design.

Riva is an operator, a man with charm and ambition in equal measure. With petrol in short supply in DRC's capital, he and his sidekick pursue a plot to get hold of a secret cache - barrels of fuel they can sell for a huge profit. Of course they're not the only ones who want the stuff. But Riva's main nemesis is Azor, a crime boss, but his girlfriend, Nora, may just be the most seductive woman in all of DRC. Riva catches sight of her dancing at a nightclub and it's not long before Nora matches the fuel cache as a  coveted object of his lust!

 


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