NOLLYWOOD AS A POWERFUL STORYTELLER

The Nigerian video industry, commonly known as “Nollywood”, has rapidly developed in the past few years becoming, according to UNESCO, the second largest film industry in terms of the sheer number of films produced (April 2009 survey).
As we read in Onookome Okome essay, it was inaugurated in Lagos and since 2000 it has gone from one international Film Festival to another, gaining a very huge success.

Nollywood is a great opportunity for the african people to spread their voice and raise their values and ideals. It is argued that Nollywood productions have a no-globalized attitudes because they perform specific african topics and customs. Nonetheless, it is affected by western traditions as well. Thus, Nollywood represents the story of a passionate and powerful community of people that can be understood everywhere in the world. It’s an opportunity, indeed, to help a lot of african people to rescue from poverty and keep in touch with a new reality. “Everybody can be an actor” is claimed by Nollywood film producers, that is a good point which makes this industry unique. 

Unfortunately, I have never seen a nigerian film, but I’d love to. Nonetheless, there is a close connection between Nollywood and my country, as Alessandro Jedlowsky points out in his essay. In fact, two video production companies, directly connected to the Nigerian system, emerged in North Italy: IGB in Brescia and GVK in Turin. These companies shoot their films in Italy to sell them mainly to the local immigrant communities. Nigerians in Turin watch Nollywood movies daily, for example, not so much to reconnect themselves with an idealized homeland, temporarily avoiding the present hardship, but more to measure themselves against a familiar, symbolic, and discursive order to cope with feelings of disorientation in a foreign society. It is thank to this active consumption that the transnational movies of Nollywood take part in the dynamics of cultural change in the predicament of migration, as it is effectively argued by the scholar Giovanna Santanera in her article collected in ‘Global Nollywood’ book. 

franco sacchiThus, Nollywood film productions are an important tool to depict a new image of Africa and encourage immigrants to reflect critically on themselves and on thei role in changing the faith of all the african community. In fact, as the italian-bred documentary filmmaker, author of ‘This is Nollywood’, Franco Sacchi, claimed, “The key to a healthy society is a thriving community of storytellers”.

Jedlowsky, Alessandro ‘On the Periphery of Nollywood: Nigerian video filmmaking in Italy and the Emergend of an Intercultural Aesthetics’, in “Postcolonial Italy: Challenging National Homogeneity”, (pp. 239-251), Palgrave MacMillan, 2012

Santanera, Giovanna ‘Consuming Nollywood in Turin, Italy’, in Global Nollywood: The Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry (pp. 245-263). Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2013

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