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Oluwatosin Adesanya: Why Has the Quality of Nollywood Flicks Remained Stagnant?

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Am I the only one who wants to see a movie by Clarence Peters so bad? Okay, not just Clarence, but also from other music video directors/producers like Soso Soberokon, Mex, Unlimited L.A, Aje films, Akin Alabi, Patrick Ellis and of course Sesan. Music videos in Nigeria have really evolved from the days of Mike Okri deluged with excited kids almost feeding the camera Rice and Dodo in that popular song, Dodo ati Rice. Remember King Sunny Ade sitting enthroned in a make-shift village square surrounded by three wives and dancers from different parts of Nigeria going back and forth in visuals to the then hit song, Nigeria Yi Ti Gbogbo Wa Ni? Yeah, that one! I laughed like crazy when I recently stumbled upon the video for Omode Meta Shere by Tony Tetuila featuring Plantashun boiz and Rugged ‘n’ Raw. Okay, I won’t lie, a giraffe-necked TuFace screaming “Sherey oh! Sherey ah-yo!” in falsetto really did it for me.

Fast forward to the present and you would give thanks to the gods of technology. Music videos today juxtaposed with those from the past will make you slaughter rams and offer thanksgiving sacrifices. Their rambunctious themes, picture clarity, camera angles, locations, costumes and the zeal to make their current jobs better than their previous ones are few of the things that keep eyes glued to the screen.

Nollywood on the other hand is struggling to reach artistic puberty. Perhaps, the sing-songy anecdotes music video directors have spoiled me with, has sort of piqued my interest in Nollywood. But hey, I remember Suicide Mission, Diamond ring, Ti Oluwa Ni Le and Eran Iya Osogbo because of their story lines. In my head they still appear blurry or black and white probably because their picture quality was pretty much blurry too. Only reason I sat glued to watch a Nollywood flick like last 4 years ago was because the popular Aki ‘n’ Pawpaw were in it.

Current Nollywood movies have sort of improved in picture clarity and cast but deteriorated in story lines. It’s like they’ve sacrificed amazing scripts for sub-par picture clarity. It’s always as if some archaic guy behind the affairs on set is always forcing the movie to appear urban or funny. It’s like Nollywood is refusing the change that is sweeping through entertainment. Our movie industry can be likened to slaves who have fallen in love with their chains.

You see, I’ve always been a fan of indigenousness but Nollywood has failed in making me a fan. The scripts, the shoots, the unprofessionalism, thespian favoritism, the way the stories are depicted? Fail, fail, and fail. I have heard stories of how the old generation film makers snub ideas and inputs from the young or new generation film makers, like old men irritated by the impudence of talkative kids.

Nollywood is indeed a big industry. But big doesn’t always translate to awesome. Although movies like Araromire, Two Brides and a baby, Phone swap et al. are taking a swipe at Nigerian movie industry critics. Still, it is not yet Uhuru. I recently saw the trailer of ‘Last Flight to Abuja’ and shook my head at the set and graphics. Maybe because I had just seen Hollywood’s ‘Flight’ that starred Denzel Washington. Oh yes, Nollywood still copies Hollywood like a younger one feeling a need to walk like an older sibling. Not bad, not bad at all.

My ideal Nollywood flick will have Tunde Kelani, Clarence Peters, Kunle Afolayan, a movie critic, a fan and a blogger behind the set blending ideas to create something that will awe the world.

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Oluwatosin Adesanya is a young Nigerian fascinated by words and often view them as entities that can be paired to form a terrible or an awesome community. His telekinetic ability to bend words and make them submit to his will is fuelled by a selfish desire to influence the way humans think. His eeally old pieces can be found at www.puffpuffmonster.com which is currently under repair.

21 Comments

  1. kemio

    July 29, 2013 at 11:50 am

    Ha! finally some spoke about this, i thought i was the only one irritated at this fit. True only Kunle afolayan has surpassed the norm with Nollywood flicks as well as Jeta Amata although i haven’t seen his recent works. Maybe because we do not have a critic association that reviews movies, songs,TV shows,etc maybe then our quality will improve.

  2. Thatgidigirl

    July 29, 2013 at 11:57 am

    BN surely this person’s fascination for words can be called something shorter, e.g he’s a writer maybe? Meanwhile I totally agree with on the issue of stagnancy in nollywood. Perhaps it can be attributed to the fact that a greater percentage of Nigerians including the marketers of these movies are illiterate or semi illiterate so they have to keep the story lines simple in order to appeal to them. Furthermore, mediocrity is celebrated a lot here. When u criticise a bad movie/actor/actress you’re seen as a hater. They keep forcing these horrible movies down our throats and expect us to swallow it and celebrate them.

  3. ij

    July 29, 2013 at 11:58 am

    in fact i was this close to slaughtering ram for Araromire, it was so refreshing to watch

    • goldfinch

      July 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Is the movie title Araromire or The Figurine?
      Is there another movie called Araromire? e be like say I don dey slack o.

    • deep

      July 30, 2013 at 3:00 am

      SAME MOVIE LOVE

  4. Rosarii

    July 29, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    PREACH!!!!

  5. Dimbo Atiya

    July 29, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Well Mr Tosin a music video shoot in Nigeria could cost you about a million naira or less and hardly requires any level of creativity. best is you have half naked women, motorized lights and smoke machines in a studio and in less than two days you have a video. This music video directors have gotten to such easy and quick way of making videos it will be a tortures experience for them to shoot a film that will require up to 100 scenes in 4 to 5 weeks. It takes more money to make those film you referred to as substandard compared to a music video. The least you can use to make any home video in Nigeria is 5 million naira and even at that you are not guaranteed your investment immediately. I’m currently working on a film project and still in the first draft of my script and i need up to five drafts which will cost me money to finish. I shot a short film recently that cost me N1.3 Million naira to shoot and I’m not thinking of making any money from it and its been in post production for 3 months now. I respect the quality of what the video directors are doing but trust me it will take more that their usual comfort zone to make films here in Nigeria. So unless you have a suggestion as to how better funding can be sourced to put more details in our films and to dare to execute our creative process and ideas, its about time we commend this film makers and the little they are doing than criticize all the time without giving any solutions to the problem.

    • say what?

      July 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

      I agree with you …I used to be a Nollywood critic like the writer…..But im quite impressed with the works of a few people i have watched recently, a lot is still desired though…..it takes a lot of money to produce a good movie and we are getting there, slowly but surely….I would like to applaud Kunle Afoloyan, the Amatas, Blessing Egbe, Uche Jombo, Desmond, Stephanie , Emem and a few others that are doing what they can for the industry…..but still some acting classes needed….also the audience/Nigerians love mediocrity ….i just watched a well thought out movie on Irokotv, ‘false’ recently and in the comments section I saw things like ‘where is part 2?’ ‘Nonsense movie’ ‘this doesn’t make sense’ etc ….the Average Nigerian doesn’t want to think hence….

    • Msunderstood

      July 30, 2013 at 6:50 am

      Add tuned kelani to d list.

  6. Thatgidigirl

    July 29, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    @ Dimbo that’s exactly the point! You would commend a month old baby that is crawling but not a 5year old child right? Nollywood has been here for quite a while, we don’t have to put up with their inability to grow and become better cos we can’t tell them where to get money. When you believe in a dream and quality you would stop at nothing to get it done. So no sir, I didn’t come to meet u for capital to start my business, so I would not accept unavailability of funds for poor quality movie! They produce movies like chin chin, 20 in a month etc! Gather the funds for 20 crap movies and use it to make one outstanding movie, that’s me giving u an idea there. U’re welcome

    • GodBlessNaija

      July 29, 2013 at 7:08 pm

      THANK YOUUUUUUU!!!!!! Dimbo is talking about we should commend nollywood directors because it takes them 4 to 5 weeks to make a movie!! 4 to 5 weeks ???? an average SHORT MOVIE in Hollywood could take up to 5 months to film and that’s just filming alone!!! we haven’t even talked about editing yet!! please no one should make excuses for these ‘film’ producers and directors in Nigeria because the industry will remain stagnant if we make excuses, these producers know very well what to do to make an excellent movie for their audience but the “in and out, quick release, lack lustre movie” mentality will not let them rest! @Thatgidigirl you are soo right! take the money you would use to make 20 crappy nollywood films and save to make one block buster movie that would give you the publicity that you need as a director and a brilliant turn over which will allow you to make more excellent films! In essence it really is that simple! and if these nollywood producers are not prepared to be patient with the film making process then they are not passionate enough!

  7. Tillaman

    July 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Kunle Afolayan shouts and hypes himself more but he is not a better filmmaker than Izu Ojukwu or Tunde Kelani.

    • hayzey

      July 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      So….what’s your point?

    • Idak

      July 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm

      Sounds like you have personal beef with the guy?

    • Msunderstood

      July 30, 2013 at 6:52 am

      Hypes himself? He just happens to be more popular these days. NW, Tunde kelani is on another level o, from way way back.

  8. nene

    July 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    i was one fo the people who thought the industry would grow but the answer is not MONEY, like they say, it is LACK OF CREATIVITY, PROFESSIONALISM AND PASSION. anybody can be a director or a actor today, no auditions. and most of the nw actors don’t have charisma on the screen, so even if the story is good, the actor might spoil it for u. Nollywood was good 1992-2003. the best ACTIVE filmakers who have perfected their art out there now are IZU OJUKWU and TUNDE KELANI, kunle afolayan is trying a bit but i didn’t like THE FIGURINE. if only amaka igwe and co. would come back and make movies. this industry has now become an industry for drop out, and prostitutes masking as actors, even models are now acting. people should take courses and refresh and educate themselves often to improve their acting.RIP Nollywood (1992-2003)

    • Idak

      July 29, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      then you should ask yourself why the likes of Amaka Igwe are not doing commercial movies?

  9. Nollywood REinvented

    July 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    I want to say that the person that wrote this is a hater and just has absolutely nothing to say. That’s what I what I want to say but the undeniable truth is that he has a point, somewhere in there amidst the misplaced points and unrelated analogies he has a point.

    But I agree with the commenter who says that making a making a music video and making a movie are two completely different ballgames. You really can’t compare music videos laden with half naked women with the amount of work it takes to make a full movie.

    Now I will grant that our stories seem to be depreciating whilst our production qualities are
    struggling to rise. But I think the problem with nollywood doesn’t lie so much with our inability to make anything of quality but with the types of individuals who are in charge. For instance those who want to make great cinematic movies, except for a few exceptions, are more preoccupied with filling them with pretty faces and skinny females than they are of doing anything substantial. And weirdly enough these are the types of movies that most people flock to see. Then we have the asaba movie makers who never went to school in the first place, for the most part, and have been making the same movies about kings and queens for as long as the sun has been shining. As long as they’re concerned what they’re doing works so there’s no need to change the formula. These people do not see movie making as an artform, it’s simply an occupation. Put a little money in, get so much out.

    It’s sad to say but our hopes really lie in hopes that over the years more filmmakers like Izu Ojukwu, Mildred Okwo, Kunle Afolayan, and the likes will surface. People who see filmmaking as they should, as an artform. And who seek to improve.

  10. toyin olaleye

    July 29, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Tunde Kelani is pretty awesome! love him

  11. Msunderstood

    July 30, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Watch the Yoruba movies (most of them have subtitles). Not saying all Yoruba movies r good but compare to d English ones they r muchhhhh better. Better story line, cast, believable acting, depth, lesson, content, everything. YouTube is d best thing ever, lol.

    • Idak

      July 30, 2013 at 8:59 am

      The subtitles are made in hell.

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