The Video Phenomenon in Nigeria
Distribution: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvado
Publication date: 02/16/2009
Format: Paperback 30 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-22117-9
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Video filmmaking is a boom industry in Nigeria. About 7,000 new titles appeared between 1992 and 2005. While most are of poor quality and made quickly on low budgets, some productions are feature-length and pull in stars from other entertainment sectors. These videos seem to have an almost endless supply of plots that are liberally copied from popular, mainstream films and television programs. Nollywood examines the lives and experiences of those involved in this multimillion-dollar industry. Interviews with producers, actors, distributors, and others capture the excitement and vitality of this homegrown industry that has emerged spontaneously and without external support. As it spreads continent-wide, the Nigerian video phenomenon is a potent counter to Afro-pessimism, demonstrating the possibility of reviving the African film industry and developing a cinema-going public to support it.

Author Bio

Pierre Barrot works in the Department for Cultural Co-operation and Action at the French Embassy in Algiers, and was formerly the Regional Audio-Visual Attaché at the French Embassy in Lagos.


“Interviews with industry specialists capture the excitement and vitality of this homegrown continent-wide boom, the Nigerian video phenomenon, demonstrating the possibility of reviving the African film industry and developing a cinema-going public to support it.”

“This is an essential book on one of the most explosive film movements in recent memory . . . Barrot’s volume . . .[is] a book that belongs in all film libraries, both personal and institutional, and gives the reader the best available examination of Nollywood cinema to date . . . Issue 53 12/2009”
 — Senses of Cinema

“A fascinating insight into one of the most dynamic cultural phenomena of contemporary Africa.”
 — Graham Furniss, University of London

“Excellent, attractive, and valuable . . . the phenomenon has become so huge and the videos have spread so widely in Africa and elsewhere that they have begun to attract a good deal of attention. This book is a superb introduction to the subject.”
 — Jonathan Haynes, Long Island University

“The book is rooted in a firm understanding of the economies of this new media. . . . This is an extremely important analysis of a phenomenon, which is neither cinema nor television but nevertheless offers feature-length fictional works to a mass audience.”
 — Roy Armes

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Film Profiles
Notes on Contributors
Preface by Pierre Barrot

Part 1. Video: The Nigerian Experience
1. "Video Is the AIDS of the Film Industry," by Pierre Barrot
2. "The Italians of Africa," by Pierre Barrot
3. Stress Warriors, by Pierre Barrot
4. "Selling Like Hot Cake: Box Office and Statistics," by Pierre Barrot
5. Audacity, Scandal, and Censorship, by Pierre Barrot
6. Informal Sector or Video Industry? by Pierre Barrot
7. Jumping on the Bandwagon, by Tunde Oladunjoye
8. Nigerian Video as a "Child of Television," by Don Pedro Obaseki
9. Hausa Video and Sharia Law, by Frederic Noy
10. Spielberg and I: The Digital Revolution, by Tunde Kelani

Part 2. Nollywood and Its Conquest of Africa
11. Niger and Nollywood: The New Romantics, by Ibbo Daddy Abdoulaye
12. Kinshasa and Nollywood: Chasing the Devil, by Franck Baku Fuita and Godefroid Bwiti Lumisa
13. Kenya and Nollywood: A State of Dependence, by Ogova Ondego
14. Is the Nigerian Model Fit for Export? by Olivier Barlet

Epilogue, by Pierre Barrot
Films Cited
Further Reading

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