As you can imagine, this is a huge honour for the Nollywood filmmaker, as he noted in his Instagram post which he shared today, Monday, June 25, 2018.
Big congrats to him!
American Universities to study Nollywood with filmmaker's works
Femi Odugbemi has been invited by two International Universities - the Illinois State University and Northwestern University, Chicago - to discuss the meteoric growth of the Nigerian film industry.
Also, three of his best works will be screened and used for a study on the Nigerian film industry.
The filmmaker's credits famously include: "Gidi Blues," "Battleground," "Tinsel," "Maroko," "Bariga Boy" among others.
"I think every opportunity for an artiste to engage the academic community and subject his or her work to critical analysis can only be an opportunity to grow," the filmmaker told Pulse Nigeria.
"I am personally excited to be invited to do so in two universities with a solid reputation for cultural and artistic explorations beyond the mundane."
"Northwestern University in Chicago and Illinois
State University in Normal Illinois have very strong interrogative exchange programmes in African Studies and are particularly interested in Nollywood and its place as an art form that has done a lot to reinvent the global narrative of the African experience."
Odugbemi will be sharing his thoughts and optimism about the rapid growth of Nollywood as a film industry but more importantly, he will be tracking the evolution of the stories of the Nigerian cinema and how it is beginning to advance its narratives within the context of contemporary history, politics and sociology as can be seen in films like "76," "93 Days," "Slow Country," "Gidi Blues," "Makoko," "The Meeting," "The Wedding Party", among others.
"For Nollywood to achieve potential as a global force, we have to bring intellectual rigour to it as well," he said.
"We must keep telling stories of Africa, yes, but to expand distribution of our films internationally, we also must find new storytelling techniques to attract global audiences to watch and enjoy our films."
"The sorts of interrogative exchange I will be having at Northwestern University and at Illinois State University are one of the ways of harvesting ideas towards that goal."
At Northwestern University, three of Odugbemi's documentaries will be critically analysed. They include "Makoko: Future Afloat," which won the best film at the Slum Film Festival in Nairobi and was nominated for the AMVCA and the AMAA awards in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
The second is "Bariga Boy," which won the Best Documentary award at the 2009 AMAA, and lastly, the 2005 film "Oui Voodoo."
In addition, the 2016 feature film "Gidi Blues" will be screened at the Block Theatre to wrap up his stay.
For his visit to the Illinois University, the filmmaker will be joined by Prof. Jonathan Haynes to discuss "Nollywood as Africa's Popular Cinema."
To Odugbemi, this feat is a welcome opportunity for him to articulate his creative philosophy, examine his creative process and internalize new ideas and opinions to feed his creative development.
"I am hopeful that i will be able to represent our film industry well and as well find new exposure for my films," he said.