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July 5, 2012

Regional Spotlight: Nigeria (Nollywood)

It’s film week peeps, so some of you at home are probably thinking that the obvious place for us to go for the Regional Spotlight would be Hollywood, in the USA, right? Well you would be wrong, because we are not always that predictable on Nokia Connects! Instead we decided to head to Nigeria – so that we can tell you some interesting facts about the world’s third largest film industry – Nollywood (Nigeria + Hollywood = Nollywood).

via Paul Keller

Most of the films made in Hollywood are filmed in just one language (straight up anyway, before international translation and distribution), so, what if I told you that any one film in Nigeria could be made using one of 300+ different Nigerian languages? Surprising right! I certainly didn’t know that and I used to work there many moons ago.

There are, generally speaking, a handful of languages that most Nollywood films are made in, these include: Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Effik and Ijaw, to name just a few (they do however still make a few films in English).

But where did the name ‘Nollywood’ originate? When you first hear or look at the word you might think its pretty synonymous with the USA, well, you would be right. Apparently, according to

“A journalist from the New York Times arrived in Nigeria for the purpose of doing a special feature story on the revolution in the Nigerian film sector, the journalist interacted with practitioners in Lagos, including Chico Ejiro, who was arguably the busiest movie director in the industry at that time. In the report, the journalist concluded that since Hollywood (USA) and Bollywood (India) were already in existence, perhaps it would not be a bad idea to name the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood. That was it! The name stocked and spread like wild fire. Practitioners, journalists, viewers, government and the corporate world fell in love with the name”.

There has been some dispute in Nigeria recently about the title – Nollywood. Despite the popularity of the word during the boom in the industry (1990’s) and until present day, there are still those who think the name was imposed by a foreigner and as such it should be changed to something more localised and traditional, in-line with the different Nigerian cultures conveyed in the films.

Here are some facts about Nollywood that you might not know:

– The Nigerian film industry is the number one in the world based on quantity of films/annual output.

– The average amount of money spent on each film is $25,000

– It is the fourth largest economic sector in Nigeria, equating to 5% of GDP

– It is the third largest grossing  film industry in the world, generating a colossal $500 million.

Below is a typical trailer for a modern Nollywood film called ‘Last Flight To Abuja’, also check out this Yoruba Nollywood film called Egberun Kan (a slightly lower budget and more typical Nollywood film).


Do you have a favourite Nollywood film? Are you intrigued to know more about the industry? Well let me know below or Tweet us @Nokia_Connects.