In our “Nollywood Exclusive Interviews” third guest is multiple award winning Nollywood actress, recording artist and singer, Member of Order of Federal Republic (MFR), One of Time100 most influential people in the World, Founder of Omotola Youth Empowerment Programme ( OYEP), UN World Food Programme Ambassador, Amnesty International Campaigner, glamorous Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, MFR! Mrs. Ekeinde talks about Nollywood in terms of industrialization, socio-cultural mission, content, of course Nollywood women and the future.
– Since Nollywood is second in the world in terms of sectoral size, can we say that Nigerian cinema dominates Africa and even speaks on behalf of the African continent and undertakes to tell the stories of the continent?
Very well. Nollywood is to Africa what Hollywood is to the Western world. Nollywood is second in the world based on volume of projects made /size.
– What do you think about Nollywood’s sociological and cultural mission within the country (eg strengthening the national unity, etc.), Africa (eg the unity of the continent, etc.) and the world?
Nollywood has for Africa become a “mirror” if society, showing Africa what it is, what it was and what it can become. So naturally, because of its wide acceptance, it has by default become the barometer for what is going on in society and how well we are doing. Not only for Africa, but the Black race. Most of my fans are in the Caribbeans. Through Nollywood, they learn the culture, lingua, languages and see how beautiful African truly is, against the past media.
– We see that Nollywood has undergone a major transformation, especially in the sense of professionalism since the 2000s. Of course, there was a time before that. Is the spectacular direct-to-video era of the 1990s over as technical possibilities and storytelling? What are the innovations and continuities?
The “straight to video” era is almost over. With the rise of the cinemas and online distribution, it is clear that the future of movies has had to be redirected. People are more impatient, they watch mostly on their devices, so movies have to be more face paced, better quality to meet up with the devices etc.
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, MFR Talks To TIME Magazine About Nollywood, Activism And Africa (2013). She appeared on the TIME 100 list in 2013 and continues to influence African arts and activism.
– As we see Nollywood films thematically urbanized and deepened. Melodramas are still indispensable, but can we say that horror and magic are off the agenda? What do you think the themes of “New Wave” will evolve into?
I predict, to games, sci-fi etc. Some kids are now stepping up to put these genres on the burner, unlike in time past when the audience were mostly housewives, women etc. who were not interested in such. As Nollywood has grown, so have the audience and now, people (especially the young people) are more receiving of risks. Horror and magic ( voodoo) have always existed in the traditional indigenous movies. Maybe now, they’ll be done with some panache for export. After all Thor is an African god, Sango (god of thunder)!
– Unlike other country cinema industries, Nigeria has a formidable weight of women as producers, directors, actors. What are the reasons for this?
True. Nollywood women have always been fierce! Right from when I got into the industry, I dictated how my career will go and resisted and summounted every obstacle my way and won. I think this is the spirit of most Nollywood ladies. Fearless and unrelenting!
– Has Nollywood reached the upper limit it deserves in itself and in the world? The copyright issue of Nollywod is a phenomenon that is constantly being voiced. What else do you think there is more to do?
No it has not. I’ll be having a conference in December. I hope you can make it. We intend to begin to proffer solutions to the problems. I.E. contracts, copywriters, guild strengths, tax rebates, order and infrastructure etc.