Talk | Akpor Otebele

Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 1:30pm

Akpor Otebele
Filmmaker and Theater Practitioner

Nigerian Nollywood: A Cinema in Search of Itself

Nollywood cinema, the Nigerian video film industry, is soaring in popularity. Its socio-cultural and economic relevance suggests that it is a popular medium of entertainment and seemingly represents the unconscious collective of a people’s culture and desire. In critically exploring and analyzing its structure, language, aesthetics, form, narratology, semiotics, production styles, distributive practices and its infrastructure of piracy, we contend that there is still much to be desired and that Nollywood as cinema is still in search of itself. I argue that the proliferation of indigenous language films in Nigeria, such as Kannywood (Hausa films), Yoruwood (Yoruba films), Igbowood (Igbo films), Edowood (Edo films), Urhobowood (Urhobo films) and Wafiwood (Warri Pidgin-English films), and the Nigerian-oriented films made in the African Diaspora, otherwise known as Nollywood International, are collectively extensions of Nollywood and are not to be read in isolation, as is often the case. When Nollywood does find itself, through effective infrastructures, discernable cultural representations and signifying practices, a vibrant popular cinema will have been borne. One that allows for a matrix of filmic languages and expressions without restrictive boundaries--a Nigerian people’s popular cinema.

Akpor Otebele is a filmmaker and theater practitioner. Teaches film production and African Cinema. Founder and festival director of the Arusha African Film Festival, Arusha, Tanzania. Co-founder of Hakika Entertainment, Arusha, Tanzania. Technical Consultant to the East African Film Network, headquartered in Bujumbura, Burundi. Founder/Director of the African Film Academy in Warri, Nigeria. CEO of Kultur Media, Los Angeles, California. He promotes the Nigerian Nollywood cinema, and working on bringing Nollywood to Hollywood and the US television/cable networks.

Cinema Studies Program
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