The Nigerian film industry – colloquially known as Nollywood – is enormous, innovative, and in ways controversial. New digital media technologies – social networks, games, mobile apps, and more – have exploded across the globe. On the Georgia Tech campus, from November 14-25, we will explore and invent the intersections between Nollywood and new media.
Nigerian Film Industry
The Nigerian film industry is the world’s most prolific movie producer. The industry produces 40 new movies a week; perhaps five times as many as come from Hollywood. In economic terms, Nollywood is the world’s third largest film sector employing directly and indirectly up to one million people in Nigeria and making it the country’s second largest employer after agriculture. Moreover, the Nollywood model reaches across Nigeria with distinct Northern and Southern forms and into Ghana, Liberia and across Africa and the world.
Nollywood is prolific and economically powerful but it is also of enormous social and cultural importance. Films emerging from the sector employ a very distinct esthetic and, along with music, comprise Africa’s most wide‐reaching cultural export. Furthermore the production model is distinct in many ways. Films are shot almost entirely on location often using existing unaltered spaces. Movies are generally made quickly (10 days of production on average) and cheaply ($25,000 on average). Most of the films are released and distributed via individual DVD/VCD sales or rental and viewed either at home or at small local video parlors. And unlike any other national film industry, Nollywood is 100% digital with consumer grade digital camcorders the recorder of choice and off‐the‐shelf video editing equipment the norm. Many of the discs sold consist of unlicensed copies, raising intellectual property concerns along with significant opportunities for innovative technologies and business models.
New Media Nollywood, Georgia Tech
Though the Nigerian Film industry is fast, innovative, and digital, it has not fully embraced new media technologies, such as games and social media. Professor Michael Best, of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Interactive Computing, leads Georgia Tech, in partnership with the Digital Bridge Institute in Nigeria, Harvard University, and Michigan State University, in organizing New Media Nollywood. This program will examine Nollywood’s present relationship with these technologies and then work to innovate for the future of the industry.
This two-week program of screenings, workshops, and film shoots will be held from November 14-25 partially in conjunction with Georgia Tech's FutureMedia Fest. The program will be anchored by a high level delegation of film scholars and practitioners from Nigeria including senior faculty from the University of Lagos, University of Jos, and the Nigerian Film Institute along with such blockbuster Nollywood performers as Monalisa Chinda, Desmond Elliot, Uche Jumbo, and Stephanie Okereke and seminal producers and directors such as Zik Zulu Okafor and Zeb Ejiro.
At the close of New Media Nollywood, November 19-25, a feature-length Nollywood inspired film will be shot on the Georgia Tech campus. The film will be produced, directed, and starring members of the Nigerian delegation in attendance for the two week program. There will be an open casting call for additional actors and volunteers to help with the shoot closer to production time.
Schedule at Glance:
In-depth technology workshops with the Nigerian delegation and faculty from Georgia Tech, Harvard, Michigan State University, and the Digital Bridge Institute.
Evening with Nollywood screening of the Nigerian film blockbuster, Memories of the Heart with a proceeding panel discussion. The discussion will feature the film’s Producer Emem Isong, Director Desmond Elliot, starring cast member Monalisa Chinda, President of the Association of Movie Producers, Zik Zulu Okafor, along with other Nollywood luminaries. Open to the public and in co-operation with FutureMedia Fest.
New Media Nollywood Conference, an invitation-only intensive meeting convening a wide range of film scholars and practitioners.
Feature-length Nollywood film shoot on Georgia Tech campus. Produced, directed and starring members of the Nigerian delegation - in collaboration with a broad collection of stakeholders from the academic, media, and diaspora communities.
New Media Nollywood is a collaborative project between the Digital Bridge Institute in Nigeria and the Georgia Institute of Technology and Harvard University in the USA. The New Media Nollywood in Atlanta program is sponsored by the GVU Center and the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) at Georgia Tech and the World Bank.