By Shaibu Husseini
It is a few days into January and it is time for stock-taking across industries. Nollywood is not left out. Moviedom presents views of some leading practitioners on Nollywood in 2022 and their expectations in 2023. It is the first diet…….
Actor Segun Arinze: ‘We need more government intervention in Nollywood’
LOOKING at Nollywood last year, quite a number of films were made. There were blockbusters, but they didn’t quite tell well because of the economy. Things were not really rosy for everybody. Notwithstanding, the industry witnessed a lot of giant strides. But one would like to see the industry moving in a right and positive direction in 2023. One would like to see the government at all levels actively involved. I salute Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for what he is doing to create the enabling environment for filmmakers in Lagos State. He recently gave some filmmakers grant to make films. But like Oliver Twist, we need more of his intervention. At the federal level, we would like to see serious engagement and not just paying lip service to the industry. Guilds have to be strengthened. The industry has to speak with one voice. I like to see a strong, united and virile Nollywood in 2023.
Actress Nse Ikpe-Etim: ‘Investors should bear the welfare of stakeholders in mind’
IN my opinion, Nollywood has grown over the years and 2022 was not a bad year for producers who had films and TV shows that the world got to see. I hope that 2023 is a better year all round. I am truly grateful to see this growth. Actors and the crew deserve to be treated better in accordance with the inflation rates so we can afford the basics of life. It’s harrowing to see actors and the likes who cannot get medical care and other basics which are not luxury because more times than not it’s a struggle to live day to day waiting for the next “project”. This is the reality with us and it should change such that even when we have other streams of income, we feel some form of fulfillment that our passion pays some of the bills. Every employer under best practices looks out for the wellbeing of their employees. It shouldn’t be different. If you choose to invest in the Nigerian film industry, we must also bear in mind the welfare of its stakeholders.
Filmmaker Mahmood Ali-Balogun: ‘It should be a departure from the arrested development of previous years’
THE year 2022 promised great possibilities. Unfortunately, the industry could not extricate itself from the socio-economic challenges of the nation. It ended up proving to be a pot-pourri of sort. Global encouragement and opportunities, the OTTs et al came knocking and continued pouring in but reciprocity from us was more of motion with little or no movement. The few efforts at responses had question marks in terms of competitiveness plus our scoring an own goal with the Oscars debacle. All accounted for box office decline at the cinemas in terms eyeballs despite increase revenue owing to hike in ticket prices. At policy and implementation level, the scenario was not different. Pretentious attempts at interventions were replete due to agencies’ little or no understanding of industry needs. Overall, it is still aluta continua. As an optimist, however, I pray and hope that 2023 will usher in a departure from the near arrested development of the past year or years. More so, the present nervy socio-political climate calls for caution and circumspection as it bears on every sector of our national life.
Filmmaker Charles Novia: ‘It
will be year of ascension of the starlets’’
NOLLYWOOD found itself coming out of the pandemic lockdown in 2022, which had taken its toll on the production sector since 2020. There were considerable numbers of films and television series produced and the industry got itself back on track again. With the further incursions by the major streaming platforms in Nollywood last year, I believe producers began to understand their worth in the new scheme of things. There is better content pricing and deals these days than what was in place before and this reflected on the quality of productions we saw in 2022. On the other hand, while we seem to have made strides in the content pricing market, I still think we are underpriced compared to other regions and we need to work as a unit to get better returns. In 2023, I believe it will be a better year for the industry. I hope more groundbreaking projects will be released but most of all, I believe it will be a year of a phenomenon I call ‘The Ascension of the Starlets’. I think up and coming stars will burst out this year and shine, in areas of acting, producing and directing. The pointers are all there to make this happen.
Actress Franca Brown: ‘Nollywood will prevail against odds’
TALKING about Nollywood in 2020, I will go back a bit to 2020 when we had the Covid-19 pandemic and which really affected businesses, including Nollywood. Cinemas were closed because of several restrictions. All that affected Nollywood vehemently. Be that as it may, we are recovering from the effect of Covid-19 and our recovery has been gradual—started with opening up the cinemas in 2021 and the recovery continued in 2022 because a lot of us made films that were not released until 2022. You can imagine making your film in 2020 and releasing it two years later. But like I said, we are still recovering. A lot of people are putting their acts together again in the post-Covid era. We are making films now and I project that in 2023, Nollywood will prevail against all odds. We are going to laugh last as there are growth prospects. We now have new platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Youtube to exhibit our movies. The cinemas are fully back and many people are heading there to exhibit their films. So, Nollywood will blossom again in 2023.
Comic actor, film producer Richard Ayo Makun aka AY: “We shall create more enthralling content’
TO me, 2022 was an eventful and productive year for Nollywood. The recovery from the downtime caused by the Covid-19 lockdown was well underway and the numbers attest to it. I will say for Nollywood box office numbers, we will jump from 2019, skipping 2020 and most of 2021 and pick up from December 2021 and flow into 2022. We had multiple movies crossing the 100-million-naira mark which definitely showed a resurgence of the trust that Nigerians had developed in Nollywood movies from 2019. We also had record breaking attendance at the 2022 AMAA Awards and AFRIFF and a strong Hollywood contingent visiting Nigeria for the premiere of the Black Panther sequel all of which go a long way to show the rapidly growing importance of Nollywood to the international box office numbers. We also had the formal launch of Amazon Prime in Nigeria which together with Netflix have committed resources towards the development of quality content by partnering with Nigerian production companies to create enthralling content that has put Nollywood at the centre at the global stage.