A couple of years ago the future of Nollywood was cinema. The entire concept of theatrical release of films as a form of distribution ushered in the New Nollywood era the industry currently is in. However, in recent years, with the influx of Nigerian films on Netflix, is it safe to say there’s a the new goal for Nigerian filmmakers?
Backtrack to 2010 when Ije and The Figurine were recently released in theatres and International film festivals, the frenzy and reception by both local and international audience paved a way for a modern process of filmmaking in the Nigerian Film industry. Many filmmakers looked to cinema as the future of Nollywood. Films were being held to a higher standard hence the drive to improve filmmaking equipment and adopt contemporary filmmaking techniques.
The goal in the last ten years has been to create movies that attract local audience in the cinema and excel in box office. Whereas in the last three years with the purchase of Lionheart, the first Nollywood film on Netflix, the goal seems to have shifted towards earning a spot on Netflix’s homepage. Nigerian filmmakers now strive for the international audience that Netflix prides itself in. The standards for filmmaking have also changed due to a newfound target for some Nollywood producers and directors. Could this be the beginning of a new era? or simply a facet of this current era.
Although there isn’t an evident shift in production quality of films for cinema and Netflix streaming, there’s a trend in mirroring the Netflix-type films/series in terms of story. Filmmakers and writers are being more open-minded and inclusive in their characters and stories. It seems many Nigerian filmmakers perceive Netflix as the final stop for their projects. After weeks of theatrical screening, Netflix is the final resting ground for their projects to amass passive viewership.
It’s fascinating witnessing the Nigerian industry transcend eras and improve itself as a global market. Netflix currently ranks as one of the top three streaming platforms globally, the only wonder is if it would retain it’s spot in the next five years. If it does, would the Nigerian Film industry have gotten over the frenzy or will Netflix put cinema houses out of business?
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