Tonight, as I watched Jimmy Kimmel present the 95th Academy Awards, I couldn’t help but think of the day when movies created in Nigeria will start receiving Oscar nominations and winning them.
Our movies need to start receiving international attention, just as our music and sounds (the afrobeat) are succeeding on the global stage. Just like our music industry has gained international prominence, Nollywood movies must begin winning international accolades in order to do the same. As you get international prominence, the industry will also draw big-budget foreign investors, which will completely reshape the landscape.
When compared to our Nollywood films, the films that won Oscars at tonight’s Oscar ceremony are still extremely far behind in terms of production value, casting, script writing, editing, and other factors.
The fastest way for us to get there is for our moviemakers to start spending a lot of money on their films. We are not there yet, but we aim to get there soon. Contrary to our Nigerian movies, where only a small amount is paid to produce a movie, most Hollywood films guzzle millions of dollars as their production costs. As a result, the movies do come out in an exceptional shape. It is a case of “trash in, garbage out”; if you invest money on your movie, it will turn out beautifully and bring in a lot of money at the box office, but if you cut corners, as Nollywood filmmakers are fond of doing, your movie will come out in a haphazard manner.
Spend money on the writing of the script and the writer(s), on digital equipment for recording and production, on editing equipment for post-production, on sounds, costumes, designs, marketing, etc. You need to spend money on your casting and characters. Pay your characters well, especially the lead characters, to encourage them to give their best performances. The majority of Nollywood films lacked the funding for everything I just mentioned, but Hollywood has a budget for every tiny detail included in a film, and it is these tiny details that combine to create a legendary film.
Do not even attempt to justify to me that Nollywood lacks the financial resources to produce films like their western counterparts; I am aware that there are banks (both investment and commercial banks), private investors, NGOs, and other organizations willing to provide funding for film projects. This source of money has been looked into by certain Nollywood producers. Investors will approach you if you produce excellent films or write solid scripts to help finance and participate in the project.
The truth is that several recent Nigerian films have improved, but they are still very little steps. We need to put more money into the scripts, engage with talented filmmakers, and give careful consideration to the level of production. How can a movie with such poor production value receive an Oscar, for example, when the voices of the characters (if they are pre-recorded) are frequently not correctly matched with the acting?
As I previously stated, with our recent films, we are currently making baby steps and moving in the right direction. Films like Shanty Town, which features an outstanding performance from the lead actor, Chidi Mokeme, Linda Ikeji’s Dark October, Glamour Girls, Bling Lagosians, etc., are all high-quality films in terms of production and good directing, but we are not there yet. However, if we continue in this vein and invest more money in our films, there is
Lawyer Stan Alieke practices law.