Motion Pictures with Chidumga It's disrespectful to call Nollywood movies of the 90s 'mediocre'

The beauty of the stories told in the 90s can't be disregarded. The huge following amassed by the Nigerian film industry in the 90s, can't also be underrated.

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The Wedding Party and Living in Bondage play

The Wedding Party and Living in Bondage

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A colleague of mine, born in the mid-90s, recently walked up to me, his eyes gleaming with excitement and satisfaction.

He had just seen two Nollywood classics, "Festival of Fire" and "Most Wanted," and he couldn't stop talking about how much he enjoyed the story and acting.

Regina Askia in Festival Of Fire play

Regina Askia in Festival Of Fire

(YouTube )

 

In recent times, there have been conversations about a decline in the quality of Nollywood movies.

Recently, Chude Jideonwo, in a bid to throw shots at Charles Novia's career, subtly described the Nollywood of the 90s and early 2000s as mediocre, while identifying Kemi Adetiba's "The Wedding Party" as the new definition of 'brilliance.'

The Nigerian film industry has evolved, but that doesn't take away the foundation laid by movies like "Living in Bondage," "State of Emergency," "Real Love," "Hostages," "Keeping Faith" and "Dangerous Twins."

 

 

It's blatantly wrong judgement to describe the 90s era of filmmaking as mediocre. The beauty of the stories told in the 90s can't be disregarded. The huge following amassed by the Nigerian film industry  in the 90s, can't also be underrated.

Present filmmakers have had their fair share of financial support from the government and private investors, unlike in the 90s.

In 2016, four production houses - EbonyLife Films, FilmOne Distribution, Inkblot Productions and Koga Studios, collaborated to produce "The Wedding Party" - a star-studded high budget production.

In 2006, "Project Nollywood" was launched by the Nigerian Government to provide 100 million naira to Nigerian filmmakers.

In 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan launched a 30 billion naira intervention fund to help filmmakers. In 2013, a grant of 3 billion naira was also awarded Nigerian filmmakers.

In 2015, Bank of Industry launched "NollyFund," program for the purpose of giving financial support in form of loans to film producers.

The Wedding Party play

The Wedding Party

 

While the definition of a good film is subjective, most movies from the 90s had more substance than most movies churned out these days.

Since the 2010s, most filmmakers create content for the craft, but more for the financial return. These movies are moulded to satisfy the cravings of a new audience, who have proved their lack of interest in depth.

Igodo play

Igodo

 

The camerawork used to be basic in the 90s. The Nigerian film industry in the 90s didn't have the technology we have today.

These days, there are now more variation of camera angles available for use. There are more people who have now acquired the needed knowledge to use a camera to get the best shots.

The Arbitration play

The Arbitration

(Pulse)

 

Back in the 90s, films had broader categories. Some of the biggest genres were horror ("End of the Wicked," "Witches" ) action ("Isakkaba," "State of Emergency) and comedy ("Ukwa," "Sawam").

While the 'new Nollywood has done well in producing movies like "Figurine," "Green White Green," "Ojuju," "Arbitration," "The Awakening," "October 1" and "Confusion Na Wa," the biggest genre of this decade still remains uncontested - Comedy.

play A scene from "Kadara"

 

In the Golden Age (1950 - 1980s) the cinema culture was very flamboyant amongst Nigerians. However, the culture collapsed in 1990, ushering in the home video era, the most popular era in the Nigerian film history.

Following the decline of the home video era in the mid-2000s, a new generation of filmmakers came to visibility, gradually bringing back the cinema era.

Since its return, the cinema culture hasn't successfully captured the attention of Nigerians that religiously followed Nollywood in the 90s. It may never even capture the kind of following the industry had in that era.

The cinema era is still a luxury set up for the middle and upper class.

AMVCA 2016 play

Desmond Elliot, Ramsey Nouah, Genevieve Nnaji and RMD at the 2016 AMVCA

(Instagram/Genevieve Nnaji)

 

In 2015, Moses Inwang stated that the last A-List stars produced by Nollywood were Mercy Johnson and Tonto Dike.

His assertion isn't far from the truth. The Nigerian film industry currently can't produce universally accepted A-List acts.

The industry still boasts A-list actors it created in the 90s.

 

Charles Novia once called our attention to the existence of 'Instagram stars.' Of course, we were all furious, mostly because of the bitterness and arrogance that seem to have come with his statement.

He also mentioned the wrong names - OC Ukeje and Blossom Chukwujekwu are no Instagram stars. But, the Nigerian film industry does have social media stars.

While Nollywood of the 90s could boast of actors and actresses who were more interested in their craft than the glamour, the present Nollywood can boast of numerous actors who are more interested in red-carpet appearances, the number of social media followers and glamour.

Zainab Balogun, Kemi Adetiba play

Zainab Balogun, Kemi Adetiba at the premiere of 'The Wedding Party'

(Instagram)

 

Unlike in the 90s, the present Nollywood is giving the industry the international exposure it deserves at international film festivals like , Toronto International Film Festival and Nollywoodweek Paris Festival.


The 90s era and 2010s era have had their fair share of positives and negatives, but describing either, especially the 90s as mediocre, is delusional.

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