What a time to be alive!
It’s common to hear football commentators say this after two of the greatest footballers to have graced the sport – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – do something special with the ball. Maybe a 30-yard curling stunner of a free kick or a slaloming run from their half which ends in a goal. Truth is, after Leo and CR7 are gone, we may not witness such footballing greatness in a rival pair again in our lifetime.
Never, in the history of Nollywood has that collection of words been truer than it is today. And while, the hope and expectation is that we witness even better films, greater box office successes, more amazing women filmmakers, greater opportunities and less piracy wàhálà, it is indeed a beautiful time to be alive if you are an Ndi Feem, a Nollywood lover or just someone who has an affiliation with the industry.
Nollywood is doing great work and showing better films, better TV/web series, great documentaries, cool animations, brilliant adaptations and shows. From breaking box office records to shutting down film festivals, this is indeed the time to be alive.
For once, Nollywood seems to have found a way around the menace of piracy. Cinema distribution, video-on-demand platforms, festival showings and so on have become welcome alternatives for filmmakers to put out their work with little fear of pirates being able to lay hands on their sweat. The cinema system and its seeming politics and bottleneck is still a source of frustration for many especially the not-very-big filmmakers but cinema is still one of the best things to happen to this generation of Nollywood.
There is a bank of industry which is interested in providing funds for filming, other corporate organisations and financial lending firms are willing to buy into filmmaker’s ideas provided your house is in order.
Nollywood is making giant strides and despite the fact that some people use the “Nigerians just want to laugh” excuse to tell mediocre stories, more filmmakers are beginning to pay as much attention to their stories as they have, for the past decade, their technicals.
TNS resolved to tell the Nollywood story, to celebrate the industry and most importantly, to interrogate it. Much of our interrogation in the past four years has been via film and TV reviews. In a world where gossip and red carpet shenanigans seem to thrive among the multitude, it hasn’t been the easiest thing calling a spade a spade when it comes to our interrogation of the Nollywood body of work.
We have put out articles calling out producers who claimed to have made more than they actually did from their movies, attempted an end of year review of the Nigerian cinema and how films and actors performed in the box-office. In a country just coming to terms with the importance of record-keeping and data collection, FilmHouse has been quite collaborative on that front. With their help, we have exclusively released the list of the top grossing films and lead actors of the past years.
If an industry must move forward, the media has a big role to play in its various micro-designations. We have chosen to be the voice of reason among the multitude of “celebrity celebration” voices and while it has become common place for people to label us as controversial and inconsiderate because of our blunt reviews and industry interrogation, we are still committed to telling it as it is.
TNS is also unwavering in its committment to give a platform to the lesser heard voices in the industry. This we have shown with our zero-reluctance to make our platforms available to young filmmakers who feel the need to put out word about their film/TV/documentary content.
Our recent coverage of the high-profile accusation of copyright theft between a respected writer and a celebrated filmmaker was first-hand and unbiased despite the refusal – even in the midst of our numerous reach out efforts – of one of the parties to present us with their own side of the story.
While we are aware of the fact that we have barely scratched the surface as regards our mission and vision, the past four years have been indeed interesting, full of lessons and of course great pleasure at the fact that Nollywood seems to be moving in the right direction. Just as Nollywood isn’t there yet, TNS isn’t there yet too.
Online platforms have some reinventing to do to catch up with digital trends. We recognise this and we are doing everything we can to ensure that the future meets us in a wonderful position so we can tell more wonderful true Nollywood stories.
Thank you everyone who is striving to make Nollywood better than it was yesterday. Thank you to everyone who is chipping away, one wood piece at a time, towards creative and financial success. And thank you to everyone giving out opportunities to those who really need them.
It is a pleasure to be the world’s biggest Nollywood-focused online platform.