West Africa’s film industry, based in Lagos, Nigeria. The term derives from Hollywood and Bollywood, India’s center of filmmaking in Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay, the source of the B in Bollywood).
In a column for The New York Times’ Times Insider, Norimitsu Onishi, chief of newspaper’s southern Africa bureau, describes how he coined the term:
Back in 2002, on a phone call to an editor, I was trying to explain that I’d been working hard, really, during a visit to Lagos, my favorite city in West Africa, the region I was covering at the time. I’d spent a few days hanging out in the district of Surulere, which had emerged as Nigeria’s moviemaking capital. It seemed filmmakers were busy shooting on every street corner, frantically churning out what were then called home videos. Young would-be actresses and actors came from all over the country, wanting to be discovered. Over hot pepper soup and Gulder beer at Winis, a hotel that served as a studio and the site of never-ending parties, producers and directors told me with typical Nigerian ambition and bravado that they were building the new Hollywood. I even flirted with the possibility of playing the role of an evil white man, a bit part in a production called “Love of My Life.”
It’s like Hollywood or Bollywood but in Nigeria — Nollywood! I told my editor. A few days later, my article appeared on the front page, under a headline that christened the world’s newest movie powerhouse: “Step Aside, L.A. and Bombay, for Nollywood.” Fourteen years later, Nigeria’s movies have won fans across Africa and the African diaspora worldwide, and they are known to all as … Nollywood.
The term was quickly picked up by filmmakers, scholars and journalists.
According to the website for the documentary “This is Nollywood,” Nigeria’s booming film industry is the world’s third largest producer of feature films after Hollywood and Bollywood, but most films there are made on shoestring budgets. The average production there is shot in 10 days for about $15,000.« Back to Glossary Index