Africa: The Four Epochs Of Nollywood, By Pioneer Okechukwu ‘Paulo’ Ogunjiofor
Pioneer Nollywood actor Okechukwu “Paulo” Ogunjiofor says the industry has entered the final frontier or the fourth epoch of its evolution where global investors will join hands with local ones to create products for a worldwide audience. He calls the fourth epoch, the Investors’ Market.
Speaking at the unveiling of the Masters in Film Production at the School of Media & Communication, Pan Atlantic University, Ogunjiofor stated: “The fourth dimension is the final frontier of Nollywood where investors from all over the world will come to Africa and Nollywood to make their millions because there are a few people who are trained and have the requisite skills to tell stories and drive people to the cinemas and create a lot of eyeballs that would watch the films at cinemas and then put monies and profits into the pockets of the investors.”
He added, “That is the rise of the final frontier that we got to in 2013, and then the likes of the World Bank started to give us money, and the federal government instituted what they called Project ACT, and a lot of grants started to fly around from all around the world.
Now that the grants are flying around and the banks are offering money to an industry that they never took notice of before, we need people who are trained in the art of filmmaking and also trained in the business of filmmaking.”
He endorsed the Masters in Film Production for its vision of producing industry-ready graduates that would man the new Nollywood of global standards.
Ogunjiofor’s latest work is Amina, a biopic on the life of the legendary Queen Amina of Zaria. He identified the three earlier epochs of Nollywood as the producer’s market, the marketer’s market and the viewers’ market.
In the producer’s market, he said, “they were just producing films and moving into the market, but they were good stories, and by creating those good stories, Nigeria had a new brand out of the brands that were in the world.” In the “marketer’s market”, he stated, “the marketers in the market who were not trained in the business of filmmaking but had shops and distribution avenues in the market hijacked the market from those who were professionals and began to tell the stories to the whole world.
That was when the industry got misguided again because they were now telling stories that were no longer driven by passion and professionalism but by gain and profit.”
Nollywood then moved to the next stage, the viewers’ market. “So we moved from that level and came to the place where the likes of (Mahmoud) Ali Balogun and some other people, who decided to take us back to filmmaking, moved us into the third stage called the Viewers’ market.
“Now the viewers market meant that for us to tell our stories and make money because the marketers had failed us, and the producers were not making money from the content they were creating. They realised that people needed to migrate to the cinemas so that they can then watch films, pay for it before it gets to the hands of pirates who call themselves ‘marketers’. So you see this third level was where we were as of 2009.”
The next was the Investor’s Market with expectations of entry of global players and the global competitiveness of Nollywood.
Ogunjiofor endorsed the MFP course at SMC.