As the year draws to an end we can help but look back at the many crazy things that stood out this year in all fields. Well Nollywood was no exception. We continued some of our trends, we dropped some old ones, we added new ones. We resurrected old actors and we added new ones – some good, some absolutely horrendous. We explored new genres and we revived old ones. All in all, it was definitely a crazy year for Nollywood. Here’s why:
- NEW PRODUCERS: This year saw the most actors (well mostly actresses) turning into producers as well. From last year we had seen the first signs with the first couple Uche Jombo movies and one Yvonne Nelson movie, as well as Rita Dominic’s “The Meeting”. This year Uche Jombo was joined by the likes of Rukky Sanda (with movies like “In her shoes” “lovelorn” “The Search” and “Keeping My Man”, more than a few of which were not to pleasing to watch), Yvonne Nelson who followed her “Single and Married” ‘success’ (according to, well according to whoever it is that is giving the reports that keep getting RT’d on twitter) with another star-studded
blockbustermovie, “House of Gold”. Then we have Chioma Chukwuka’s return to film as well as her introduction to producing with her feature film “On Bended Knees”. Finally this year also saw the release of the Yvonne Okoro film “Contract”. Now I can’t promise that all these producers have got the secret to good cinema but some of the movies were worth the watch – if not for their own innate value then simply to laugh at how comical they unintentionally were.
- THE YEAR OF ONLINE STREAMING: Much to my delight, many of the cinema releases this year and from the past year came available for online streaming in a matter of months *is that the Hallelujah chorus I hear*. So finally the rest of us in the diaspora finally got an opportunity to see many of the highly acclaimed movies like ‘Last Flight to Abuja’, ‘Mirror Boy’ ‘Weekend Getaway’ and even ‘Tango with Me’ amongst many others. And whilst we were delighted to see them, in some cases our initial excitement dulled after seeing the movie and we started to ask “is this what all the Hype was about?” Having said that though, big props to online distribution platforms like dobox.tv and irokotv.com (especially the former) for bridging the gap between Nigerian cinema and viewers in the diaspora.
- EXPLORING NEW GENRES: Reviewing movies this year had an added aspect of ‘perplexing’ for me because of all the new types of movies I was accosted with. It’s easy to review the royal movies, or the love-nwantiti movies or the Mr-Ibu-movies (as much as I dislike them) because we’re used to it. But add in new genres like those of movies like “Journey to Self”, “Murder at Prime Suites”, “Misfit”, “Awakening” and “Confusion Na Wa” and my own confusion will know no bounds. However, the new genres this year were refreshing to say the least. There’s still work to be done but it’s encouraging to see movie makers that are tired of Yul Edochie being a prince and falling for a poor girl his parents won’t let him marry.
- THE CHICKS/BABES FIASCO: Unlike last year, we were a little less obvious about it but it was still very much present. While last year we had the blackberry babes, iPhone babes, Azonto Babes and Government babes, this year we have ‘Limpopo Chicks’, ‘Brazillian Hair Babes’, ‘Desperate Housegirls’, ‘Yankee Students’ and ‘Asoebi girls’. The annoying thing about it all (lol as if the titles weren’t annoying enough) is that the titles are completely unwarranted. After watching some of these movies you begin to wonder why they sell themselves short with a title like that. Is there a new PR strategy that stipulates that titles like that are equivalent to higher sales?
- BLUE FEEM: It finally happened! Or did it? We’ve been dancing around it for many years now with Tonto Dikeh movies like “Dirty Secret”. But Nollywood finally joined Ghallywood (sorry Ghanaians) in the game with their first attempt at a semi-porn film in “Room 027”. The trailer sent sparks and nearly started a fire, only to find out that the movie was nothing but an undercover zion movie.
- THE RETURN OF…: No, not Jenifa! But many actors returned to our screens this year and to stay from Chioma Chukwuka-Akpotha to Kenneth Okonkwo and the legendary Pete Edochie (who, if Nigerian bloggers are to be taken seriously, was supposedly dead for a couple days too).
- THE THEFT CONTINUES: This year we saw some more Frank Rajah movies and along with that we saw some more copied movies. The most memorable of them being “The Price” which was an attempted rip of the 2004 Bollywood movie, “Veer-Zaara”. There was also ‘Love and Crime’ which was a combination of so many different movies that I just about lost track of how many ranging from Yvonne Nelson’s “Single and Married” to Bollywood’s “Ajnabee”
- IGBO MOVIES: I can’t even begin to describe how much joy it brought to my soul to see a couple decent Igbo movies this past year. After seeing movies like “Nkwocha” and “Nwanyi Murano”, I’ve come to the conclusion that not only do we need more Igbo movies but that Queen Nwokoye is one heck of an actress.
- MERCY JOHNSON: Mercy got married. Mercy said she would stop acting and I just about died. Then Mercy got pregnant, Mercy had her baby and Mercy stopped acting for a while and I lived. But in between all this, she did some interesting things like acting way more than a handful of movies in her heavily pregnant state and doing her own spin on Osuofia in London with “Baby Oku in America”. Last year she was Dumebi the dirty girl, this year she is “Veronica the native girl”.
- A NEW DAWN: Last but not least, this year NR took on a new look. In January we switched platforms to wordpress and got a new design. Some hated it, some thought it was too complicated, others liked it but we all learned to live with it.
LAST but not least, from all of us at NR we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone that has stayed with us throughout the years, those who started the year with us, and those who have joined us along the way.
- Thank you to the readers who make their voice heard, the dissenters on the comment sections, the RT’ers on twitter and the Like’ers on Facebook (you see as I dey generate new word way no dey for dictionary).
- Thank you to all who participated in this year’s #NRAwards, thanks to those who voted and nominated and thanks to the winners and non-winners for being a sport.
- Thanks to the writers on NR: Mimi Uvieghara and Richard Odilu.
- Thanks for the suggestions, the jokes, the laughs.
- Thanks to those who support us behind the scenes whether or not they agree with what I’ve said about them and their movies on the review. And a big thanks to all those supporting Nollywood. Here’s wishing you a great year ahead