Nollywood and the Nigerian Stories Left Untold

Every time we discuss Nollywood, the issue of lack of great stories always rears its head.

Is it true that Nollywood has a dearth of stories? Or are filmmakers afraid to take a risk by delving into deep aspects of society that people seem to be ignoring but, could make for great storytelling. Most filmmakers would rather stick to “something light”. After all, most would argue that the comedy genre has emerged the most successful at the box office in recent years.

Nevertheless, there are many Nollywood fans, who want something utterly different from the array of comedies that have flooded the cinemas in the last two years. Certainly, laughter is great, but there are various issues which filmmakers should tackle.

Consider the various aspects of our society that we could explore and develop great stories from. From our conversations with various folks, this article highlights some of the themes/genres which filmmakers should pay attention to.

  • Religion: Known as a citadel of religion, faith and multiple doctrines, Nigeria has thousands of religious organizations and even more bizarre stories emanating from these sects. Not a day goes by, without a crazy story about religion making the headlines. From mismanagement of funds to abuse and sexual misconduct, there are hundreds of stories to be told about religion and we think its time filmmakers catch on.
  • Politics: Nollywood filmmakers in the 90’s did a number of films on local and national politics which were hits at the time. A lot has happened politically since then and not much has been documented. Since 1999, there hasn’t been a great film on Nigerian politics or our “brand” of democracy. There have been upheavals in various parts of the country; multiple political assassinations; election tribunals upturning election results; EFCC and Nigeria’s anti-corruption war; insurgency in the northeast, none of these issues have been documented or explored as features. Not only do these make for great stories, but good political movies are able to illuminate complicated situations for their viewers.
  • Law Enforcement/Legal Stories: Law and crime always make for great stories. In recent years, we’ve seen several heavyweight law cases that would make for profound stories but only a few filmmakers seem to bother with this genre. Last year, Kunle Afolayan released, “The Tribunal” a law drama that dealt with discrimination at the workplace. Kunle did a great job with The Tribunal and we are eager to see other filmmakers delve into past and current legal matters, from convictions of ex-Governors, police brutality, alleged corruption in the judiciary, NDLEA convictions etc.

It’s time Nigerian producers use the medium of film to express, explore, or examine the ideas that interest us, our personal struggles, and our personal and cultural beliefs on a microcosmic level.” Nollywood filmmakers need to view filmmaking with a more mindful, introspective approach so that they can then inject their films with a greater sense of purpose and meaning.

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