I was introduced to Nigerian films during my college days in Memphis. My then boyfriend, now husband, who is from the West Indies, as well as some other friends of ours from African countries loved to watch videos of Nigerian comedies and dramas. I'd watch the comedies along with everybody else but at the time, as an American with little experience communicating with people from other countries, I had trouble understanding the accents--those of my husband, his friends, and the Nigerian actors. That didn't stop me from laughing on cue with everybody else though. I got use to them after a while and eventually stopped faking amusement and came to actually enjoy the comedies.
Little-known fact: Nigeria's film industry, also known as Nollywood, is the third largest film industry in the world. We all know how hard Hollywood struggles to sell African-American films to wide audiences. While there are plenty of quality independent films featuring black actors out there, they're not widely viewed and aren't raking in the big bucks. Nollywood produces films across all movie genres that employ thousands of African actors in a $250 million industry with audiences largely throughout Africa, Canada and the UK...and maybe soon in the U.S.
I got an email last week about a new photobook by award-winning filmmaker Cybel Martin that documents her trip along with other filmmakers and NYU alumni to Lagos, Nigeria to conduct workshops at the African Film Academy. You can read about the trip and others involved <<here>>. The photobook is only currently available through blurb.com. There's a cool preview of the first 15 pages over there--check it out <<here>>.
This story is also posted on my other blog at HoneyMag.com.