Nollywood is notably one of the top three film industries in the whole world. Now that is huge, right? But let’s speak clearly, this ranking is due mainly to the number (quantity) of “films” produced in Nollywood and not necessarily due to the quality of said films. Many Nollywood critics have already made similar observations, but I have a slightly different perspective- the only thing that would really qualify Nollywood to rank alongside Hollywood/Bollywood is the quality of films produced in Nigeria. And I stand to assert that what makes a quality film (among other components) is the quality of the story being told.
In the last two years, thousands of films were made in Nigeria. And frankly, out of those thousands of films, you could probably recall just a few as you read this. This is because out of the many films, it is only a few that meet the standard for “a film”; the majority lacking the basic thing that make a film good which is a good storyline. The necessity to work with a good screenplay in a film project cannot be underestimated. The screenplay is like the lifeblood of the film. In my list of very successful Nollywood films (2012-2014), what makes the films on the list so successful is simple: there were stories to be told, and there were told well.
Films such as ‘When Love Happens’, ‘Ojuju’, ‘October 1st’, ‘Phone Swap’, ‘Figurine’, ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, ‘Mrs. & Mrs’., ‘The Meeting’ etc all have relatively good story lines. It therefore goes to show that what makes a good film is basically the story/screenplay. Unfortunately, most people in Nollywood have not yet realized this basic fact. They still go about recycling mediocre stories that are literarily dead and should be buried.
It is high time Nollywood reaches its fullest potential; becoming a truly international film industry poised to produce Oscar-winning films and making global stars. Until then, a say a very big kudos to all those trying hard to change the trend. Filmmakers like Kunle Afolayan, Mildred Okwo and Seyi Babatope have really contributed a lot. The more others contribute towards revamping our very own Nollywood, the nicer it becomes.
-Emmanuel Abara Benson