Nollywood, as Nigeria’s movie industry is so described, has undergone series of evolution in the past few decades.
In all these phases, significant transformation and changes have been recorded between the film industry of old and present.
These obvious changes have in recent time, given birth to the ‘old and new Nollywood’ debate which often pits veteran practitioners against fresh, popular faces.
Although several productions have brought together talents from both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Nollywood, there remains a certain degree of acrimony between those who laid the foundation of the industry and those dictating the pace at present.
But what exactly is responsible for these not-so-quiet rumblings? What are the differences between the past and present?
Back in the days, the volume of movies produced pale in comparison to the current day output of the movie industry.
Nollywood has in the past two decades grown to become the largest movie industry in Africa and also the third largest in the world, owing to the sheer number of movies produced annually.
It is reported that not less than fifty movies are released every week in Nollywood.
Technology and innovation have helped improve the production and technical quality of movies made in the past ten years, giving them a much better output.
This improvement in technicality has pushed Nollywood movies across the pond — where they feature in major film festivals, and sometimes, get premiered.
Before the term ‘Nollywood’ was coined, movies made in Nigeria usually suffered from shortcomings such as disjointed storylines and skewed plots but today, these letdowns are gradually starting to fade away.
Many who belong to the old Nollywood would be quick to point out a decline in the talent level of the present crop of actors – and perhaps, they are right.
Unlike the veteran actors who were quite versatile and armed with a broad acting range, most of the new Nollywood actors are mostly restricted and often stereotyped.
In a recent interview, Jide Kosoko, a veteran actor in the industry, complained about the lack of discipline in the industry.
He said, “In the 80s the Nollywood practitioners were well disciplined, the public respected them for that attitude, but these days the reverse is the case.”
“We will do all we can to make sure that discipline is being maintained among the members of the association.”
These sentiments were recently re-echoed by Grace Amah, an actress who has spent over 20 years in the industry.
The new Nollywood, unlike the old, has the luxury of social media and the internet to push their craft and production to any market in the world.
This has greatly helped with visibility and reach of the new Nollywood movies.
The industry has become a medium for selling Nigeria’s culture, norms and practices and is starting to gain “real” international recognition.
The curse of piracy, in the past, made the industry unprofitable, and just as technology helped improve the quality of movies produced by the industry; it has equally curbed the rate at which movies are pirated.
Unlike before when movies were released on video cassettes and CDs, nowadays most producers would first release in the cinemas, and subsequently sell online.
This has made it possible for many filmmakers to break-even and in some cases, make profits.