Long before the rise of Nollywood, Nigerian filmmaker Ola Balogun—director of such acclaimed films as Ajani Ogun (1975); Black Goddess (1978); Cry Freedom (1981); River Niger, Black Mother (1989); and The Magic of Nigeria (1993)—argued for a locally based, inexpensive model of filmmaking for Nigeria and Africa more generally, denying the need for large studios to make local cinemas. Balogun’s model was prescient in many ways: near the end of the manifesto he claims Nigerian films can have the same dominance in Africa that Egyptian ones have in the Arab world. Filmmaking in Nigeria changed rapidly and drastically with the rise of Nollywood in the early 1990s with the rise of Betacam and then digital technology, and Nigeria’s straight-to-video industry now makes it the third largest cinema-producing country in the world. Balogun, along with pioneering Nigerian cinema in the 1960s, has also gone on to be a renowned musician.


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