The seven films from Nigeria being screened under Country Focus category in IFFK reflect the various styles and tastes of the contemporary film production in Nigeria, said June Givanni, curator of the section.
She was speaking at the Meet the Director programme organised as part of the festival along with Nigerian filmmaker Niji Akanni and Sidhartha Siva, whose ‘101 Chodyangal’ was screened in the competition section on Saturday.
“In the recent years the world has become aware of a new and commercial cinema from the continent which has Nigeria as the centre. Similar films are also being made in Ghana. Nigeria has a history of filmmaking and it was during the 90s the phenomenon that is now known as Nollywood started taking shape.
“Nigeria is also one of the countries with biggest population in the African continent.
“Later Nigeria started making low-budget films for the local audience in the populist style with stories that are deeply rooted in their culture and tradition. Some of the films turned out to be very popular and made a lot of money,” she said.
Givanni said the term Nollywood came because at one time Nigeria started producing more than 2,000 titles and it normally got compared to Hollywood and Bollywood.
“But over the years the Nigerian audience has grown more discerning and the filmmakers have become more ambitious trying to present their work at the best level. As a result the number of films produced annually has dropped a bit, but it’s still producing between 300 and 500 films a year and the number is rising.
“The filmmakers started working in different genres and there is much more professionalism now. They are still targeting popular audience and more and more multiplexes are being built in Nigeria,” she added.
Nollywood is about commercialism and content-driven narratives, said Niji Akanni. “In the last five six years Nigerian cinema has opened up space for filmmakers from the outside to practice. Now we are able to play with form and try out certain themes that are not considered commercially viable some time back,” he said.
Sidhartha Siva said that a lot of good films are being produced in Malayalam, but many of them are unable to reach the audience.
“Proper marketing or finding the right market is still a problem,” he said.