The Good, the Bad and the Ugly in Nollywood
Have you seen Quentin Tarantino's highest-grossing film Inglorious Basterds?
You have to know the "Inglorious Basterds", a group of Jewish-American guerilla soldiers led by the ruthless Lt. Aldo Raine during the Nazi occupation of France in World War 2 and the role they played to understand the following analysis of the fifth column posing and posturing as the leaders of Nollywood, but are actually the ones exploiting and plundering the film industry.
Nollywood is no longer the second largest movie industry in the world as reported by UNESCO. The UNESCO report was based on statistics of the quantity of home videos produced in Nigeria when Nollywood was at its peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s before rampant piracy and the economic downturn changed the fortunes of Nollywood and left most of the stakeholders in dire straits.
The worst hit have been the English speaking practitioners dominated by Igbos, but the more down-to-earth and better organized Yoruba practitioners have managed to weather the storm, while the other producers of videos in Edo, Hausa, Efik and Ibibio have been doing their best in spite of their own professional inadequacies.
There are those who are the Real McCoy of the Nigerian film industry like the foremost Nigerian filmmaker Dr. Ola Balogun, Chief Eddie Ugbomah, Francis Oladele, Brenda Shehu, Sadiq Balewa, Tunde Kelani, Femi Lasode, the Adesanya brothers, Ladi Ladebo, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Mildred Owoh,Tade Ogidan, Tony Abulu, Francis Onwuchie, the Amatas. Femi Odugbemi, Kunle Afolayan who is bearing the mantle of the legacy of his father Adeyemi Afolayan, aka “Ade Love”, Joe Brown, Didi Chika, Lucky Onyekachi Ejim, Gugu Michaels, Faruk Lasaki, Chike Ibekwe, Mark Kusare, Kenneth Gyang and the new kids on the block, Niyi Akinmolayan and Chineze Anyaene whose first features "Kajola" and "Ijé: The Journey" are outstanding indicators of the future of the Nigerian film industry. The other Real McCoy can be found in the heart and soul of Nollywood, such as the accomplished Amaka Igwe, Fidelis Duker, Lancelot Imasuen, Teco Benson, Kingsley Ogoro, the ambitious team of Emem Isong and Desmond Elliot and those in the same league with them.
Separating the sheep from the goats, let us now look at the good, the bad and the ugly in Nollywood.
“Nollywood habours lots of greedy producers.”
~ Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Sunday Punch, August 1, 2010.
Notable role models and outstanding key players in Nollywood such as Enebeli Elebuwa, Okey Ogunjiofor, Ejike Asiegbu, Madu Chikwendu, Justus Esiri, Olu Jacobs, Joke Jacobs, Prince Jide Kosoko, Pete Edochie, Glory Young, Ngozi Ezeonu, Joke Silva-Jacobs, Rachel Oniga, Saint Obi, Hilda Dokubo, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Chika Onu, Zeb Ejiro, Chico Ejiro, Kingsley Ogoro, Lancelot Imasuen, Teco Benson, Emem Isong, Shan George, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Francis Duru, Charles Okafor, Jim Iyke, Ramsey Noah, Riita Dominic and others in the same League have been busy trying their best to rejuvenate the ingenuity of the heyday of Nollywood. But there are those who have resorted to dirty partisan politics contrary to professional ethics. They are running a get-rich-quick racket in Nollywood.
Yes, desperate times call for desperate measures, but going bonkers will only worsen the situation. Frustration often pushes people to acts of desperation in the struggle for survival or trying to catch up with the Joneses. The critical state of Nollywood is also bringing out the best and the worst characters of the principal practitioners and other stakeholders as shown by the petty squabbles in the guilds. The squabbles of the opposing camps and factions of those at loggerheads have left the troubled guilds in disarray and opportunists are fishing in the troubled waters.
You have to see Quentin Tarantino's highest-grossing film so far Inglorious Basterds to understand the following dramatization of the analysis of the crisis in Nollywood.
Those who attended the so called unveiling of the logo of the illegal AMP-Eko International Film Festival on July 29, 2010, reported the roll call of those posing and posturing as the movers and shakers of Nollywood as almost everyone turned out in the best outfit from the wardrobe with roguish smiles on the red carpet. But among them were pirates, failed filmmakers, incompetent administrators and their sycophants making up the panoramic rogues' gallery.
Many of them were taking sides in partisan politics as they supported the gubernatorial quest of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, the former governor of the apex bank and were disgraced when he lost. And now they have rushed to endorse President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to contest in the presidential election in 2011.
These inglorious desperados of Nollywood who have run out of ideas for new movies are either ganging up to hijack a film festival as part of their retirement plan, heal the wounds of their bruised egos or to settle scores.
They have used all sorts of foul play in conceit and deceit to mislead many ignorant green horns, disillusioned practitioners and stakeholders like lying to Chief Eddie Ugbomah to chair an international film festival they have attempted to hijack since last year when they lost in the power tussle over how to share the booty from the 6th ION International Film Festival held in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
I wonder what lies they would have told Chief Eddie Ugbomah who already has dismissed them in Nollywood is nothing wood posted on NigeriaFilms.com, Nollywood At Large on Tue, 15 May 2007. And I do not think supporting trademark piracy is part of his agenda as he has defined in Repositioning Nigerian Film Industry, My Agenda posted in Nollywood Affairs on Wed, 18 Feb 2009, of NigeriaFilms.com. I trust that the veteran filmmaker is too intelligent to be fooled by these corrupt desperados.
Azuh Amatus of the Daily Sun said there is no longer sanity in Nollywood, because all that has been bastardized.
We have to expose the inglorious bastards who have bastardized Nollywood and secure the future of the Nigerian film industry.