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We tried making it in "Nollywood," Nigeria's booming film business

Nollywood produces thousands of movies a year, eclipsing Hollywood and rivaling Bollywood in sheer output

by VICE News
Feb 13 2018, 3:56pm

An extra at the filming of “Accts of Smith,” directed by Chris Eneaji. (Credit: Chriss Gill/VICE News.)

Nigeria's film industry in booming. Nollywood has quickly grown into a $3 billion industry that is creating a new generation of Nigerian filmmakers.

Nollywood began with the 1992 dramatic thriller “Living in Bondage.“ The film reveals a story about a man who is haunted by his wife’s ghost after sacrificing her to a cult.

The VHS masterpiece inspired an entire movement of DIY filmmaking in Nigeria, and these unique narratives that are authentic to Nigeria have made Nollywood highly popular across Africa and its diaspora audience.

Nollywood produces thousands of movies per year, most of them on shoestring budgets and made within days. These movies have a widespread reach and are entertaining audiences in rural and urban settings alike — from makeshift street barbershops and beauty salons to local cinemas and online streaming services like iROKOtv and even Netflix.

This shift to digital is redefining the existing Nollywood model while creating a new generation of Nigerian filmmakers, who are making high-production-value films for the big screen and digital streaming platforms.

VICE's Thomas Morton traveled to Nigeria to spotlight the world’s second-largest film industry as he attempts to become a Nollywood actor himself.