Filmmaker Kunle Afolayan is looking to push the boundaries of moviemaking in Nigeria—but it’s still too early to know whether the audiences can support a film with even a $500,000 budget:
Twenty years after bursting from the grungy street markets of Lagos, the $500 million Nigerian movie business churns out more than a thousand titles a year on average, and trails only Hollywood and Bollywood in terms of revenues. The films are hastily shot and then burned onto video CDs, a cheap alternative to DVDs. They are seldom seen in the developed world, but all over Africa consumers snap up the latest releases from video peddlers for a dollar or two. And so while Afolayan’s name is unknown outside Africa, at home, the actor-director is one of the most famous faces in the exploding entertainment scene known — inevitably — as “Nollywood.”
On a continent where economies usually depend on extracting natural resources or on charity, moviemaking is now one of Nigeria’s largest sources of private-sector employment.
More film #longreads: “I Watched Every Steven Soderbergh Movie.” — Dan Kois, Slate, Sept. 14, 2011