PROBLEMS FACED IN THE NOLLYWOOD INDUSTRY
Like we all know, a whole list of problem faced in our very own Nollywood are listed herein for possible consideration.
1. History of Film making in Nigeria
The first and most important issue that Nollywood have to contend with, is the silent war among producers tribalism over the history of film making in Nigeria. This is at the root of all other problems as a house divided against itself cannot stand much less make progress.
2. A house Divided Against Itself
One of major reason for the unhealthy situation in Nollywood is that where we now have Igbos, Yorubas and Hausas operating separately under the umbrella of Nollywood – Igbohood, Yorubawood and Kannywood respectively. Even within these groups, we still have infighting and misunderstandings over leadership. In spite of these lack of cohesion however, each of the woods has her own guilds where separatism is very apparent in their dealings especially casting. For some time now many people have noticed that the movies that are being produced in Nollywood especially the locally made movies are always centered on the Igbo culture. Sometimes people find it difficult to differentiate an Igbo movie from an ordinary Nigerian movie. The choice of language, the dressing, and even the display of culture seems to be only around one side of the country, there are so many ethnic groups in the country why center the industry around just one. This issue needs urgent attention as Nollywood is a big tool to project the cultures and norms of the different ethnic groups in Nigeria to world. Movies with focus on other ethnic groups should be encouraged in Nollywood.
3. Lack of Umbrella Association
Although the average Nigerian may find this shocking but Nollywood is the only industry with no organized association to govern the activities of actors and movie makers in the industry. This country cannot speak of a unified national association of filmmakers, the way that doctors talk about the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), lawyers talk about the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and the gentlemen of the press have the Nigerian Union of Journalists(NUJ). It is true that Nollywood have all manners of guilds but these are all based on the sentiments described earlier. One is persuaded to believe that the inability to come together under an umbrella is one of the reasons why Nollywood have some of the problems that hinders them from the development of the business in Nigeria.
4. Lack of Quality Control
The lawless nature of the business of film making in Nigeria is the reason for the low quality of a lot of Nollywood films. There is no quality control mechanism. This has resulted in loss of confidence by lots of people as most people prefer to watch Hollywood movies or even Bollywood movies to that of Nollywood. This could be resolved if the Nollywood body put up a particular set of standards to be reached for a movie to be distributed to the public. This will help to improve movie production quality in Nollywood.
The inability to fight the hydra-headed monster of piracy with one voice. A survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said that 9 out of 10 copies of Nigerian films are pirated. This has frustrated so many practitioners to the extent that many have jumped out of the boat to join politics or take up some other form of employment. Real passion for acting is fast becoming a thing of the past as a lot of our actors move on to big spenders the moment they become popular. The truth is that less than 10% of practitioners make money from film making. Majority of the island houses and posh cars that we see are acquired from other sources other than film making.
6. Long Standing Lack of Governmental Support
Government in 2006 reviewed the film policy to bring the motion picture industry in line with international best practices and prepare it for sustainable growth Following the review, it was recommended, among-st others, that a Practitioners Council be set up to administer, regulate and professionalize the practice of making motion pictures in Nigeria. This Council, anchored by the establishment of National Guilds and Associations, backed by the necessary enabling laws, is to ensure proper organizational structuring, entry criteria, rules/regulations, discipline, and set standards, thereby driving the potentials for quality productions but as the years went by, the only thing this association has seceded in doing is fight for power and dominance, power and who to be control. Nollywood need a more disciplined association with laws and regulations guiding movie makers, actors and marketers. Governments, both national and state have done little or nothing to assist the Nigerian film industry until the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan initiated the N3 Billion intervention. It is true that some state governments have, over the years, supported individual practitioners but there is no widespread impact of such support on the industry. Having identified some of the most urgent problems plaguing the industry, urgent action should be taken by both the government, movie makers and actors to checkmate the activities of movie makers to tackle these challenges accordingly to ensure the growth of the industry.
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Also published on Medium.