THIS IS NOLLYWOOD
“In the end, the film we made is about more than a fascinating and unheralded movie industry. It’s about people surmounting obstacles to achieve their dreams”-Franco Sacchi.
Franco Sacchi, Robert Caputo and Aimee Corrigan are the makers of the film This Is Nollywood, a story of the Nigerian film industry. They decide to tell this story by following the shooting for an action feature film Check Point by Bond Emeruwa. Director Bond decides to shoot the film in 9 days with about $ 20,000, 1 digital camera and 2 lights.
The film is shot in Badagry, a village on the outskirts of Lagos (population, 15 million), the hub of Nigerian film industry. It tells the story of two men who are robbed and shot by rogue cops and are eventually brought to justice. The film was made against the backdrop of a campaign to clean up the notoriously corrupt Nigerian police force. Director Bond says that film making in an economy like Nigeria should be restricted to what they call “edutainment” and not be purely commercial. “So, while we entertain people we should be able to educate them”.
Nollywood is considered the 3rd largest film industry in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood. It is a $250 million film industry and releases about 2000 films every year. The key aim of these films is to make sure that African stories get to African audiences. “We still have people who live on less than 1$ per day and they are the people who really watch these films” says Peace Fiberesima, a producer and director in Nollywood.
The directors have to face a lot of issues everyday which are unforeseen, unexpected and untimely- prayers from the mosque loudspeakers interfering with the sound of a crucial scene making shooting impossible, electricity going off anytime, lead actor not showing up because of clash of timings with other films, sudden rains on a particular day of shooting hindering continuity, rented properties not available. But, director Bond says “In Nollywood we don’t count the walls. We have learnt ways to climb them.”
The producer and director remain surprisingly calm during all the costly and unforeseen delays. One of the actors, Kevin Books, says that many a time’s directors get harsh on the artists, trying to get out the best in them. But director Bond has his own approach. He takes the actor aside and makes him believe that “your life depends on it man.” The Producer, inspite of all the extra costs he has to incur is very positive and encouraging. One of the instances when the cameraman shows him scenes that they’d shot (till then not even half way through the film), he says with all his excitement “wow wow wow wow wow ...this is going to be the movie of the year”.
In Nollywood they do not have stunt men. They improvise the scenes and all of them act out the stunts themselves. Actress Toyin Alausa, loves acting as it gives her a chance of being someone extremely different from her real self. She can be asked to play a prostitute or a doctor, can pull stunts, carry guns, jump the fence, and climb the trees. She confidently says “In Nollywood the woman virtually can do anything as far as she can do it well.”
A lot of people question the quality of the films, so an actress says “Nobody is perfect and Rome wasn’t built in one day”. Nollywood is still evolving and the people have to be patient.
Director Bond says that there was a time when it was all about trying to talk like an American and behave like an American. But now the people are finding new heros, who are closer to their home. There is a sense of pride in being a Nigerian now. “I cannot tell the white man’s story. He tells me his own story in his movies. But we are telling it our own way, the Nigerian way, the African way.”
For more details log on to http://www.thisisnollywood.com/ J