Nollywood: The Making of a Film Empire

Emily Witt. Columbia Global Reports, $14.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-9971264-8-8
Journalist Witt presents an intriguing introduction to the Nigerian film industry, or “Nollywood,” which produces more films annually than Hollywood and falls short only of Bollywood in its output. The book tells the story of a fascinating industry beyond the view of most Americans, a barely-two-decades old business built in a country with almost no movie theaters (even in the capital city, Lagos, with its 21 million residents). This constraint means many Nigerians watch movies on their cellphones, receiving the movies via Bluetooth file sharing from a friend or relative with a fast internet connection at work. Production values are low, and earnings are small compared to American blockbusters—a gross of $1.5 million was a record setter. Witt meets a host of fascinating characters, including distributor “Gabosky,” who describes fighting machete-wielding video pirates, and English-born licensor Jason Njoku, who describes trying to introduce more rigorous business practices to the Nigerian film industry. Witt’s fascination with the business is contagious, and the view she provides into this fledgling market—punctuated with summaries of the overwrought plotlines of some popular movies—makes for an entertaining book. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 10/01/2017
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