- Inside Nollywood: Issues and Perspectives on Nigerian Cinema eds. by Sola Fosudo and Tunji Azeez
In one of his most insightful and oft-quoted essays, "What Is to Be Done: Film Studies and Nigerian and Ghanaian Videos" (in Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-First Century: Art Films and the Nollywood Video Revolution, edited by Mahir Saul and Ralph A. Austen [Athens: Ohio University Press, 2010]), Jonathan Haynes stressed that the field of film studies in Nigeria, which he found lacking, had not advanced at a reasonable pace, and that the character of the essays available were just pieces of rehashed work that offered little new or ground-breaking thought. He observed that film studies and criticism in Nigeria were threatened by a lack of extensive and in-depth readings of the various films being constantly produced in Nigeria.
Inside Nollywood: Issues and Perspectives on Nigerian Cinemas, edited by two scholars and practitioners, Sola Fosudo and Tunji Azeez, is a welcome response to Haynes's complaint. In its thirty-one chapters, this collection brings together a range of scholarship reflecting pertinent issues affecting Nollywood and employing unique approaches to analyze Nollywood films.
The contributors, who constitute a mix of established, rising, and debutant academics, address issues and stakes that earlier scholarship either disregarded, or made little effort to advance during the formative years of the Nollywood industry. These issues represent particular areas and trajectories in Nollywood studies, such as: theoretical explications, textual (filmic) analyses, examination of the connections and disconnections between film and literature, global Nollywood, the New Nollywood movement, historiographic pedagogy, analyses of language films (especially Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa films), the political economy of Nollywood, Nollywood films and cultural studies, Nollywood and cultural identity, Nollywood and Hollywood films, quality assurance studies of Nollywood films, the film medium versus visual art, mediating Nollywood through sky televisions, the dichotomies between Nollywood films and Art films, as well as the area of audience research. [End Page 288]
The editors solicited articles that would address core matters of concern in Nollywood. A good number of academic books on the industry have already been published, such as: NoSRA Theory: Gaze Setting and Analysis of Nollywood Movies (Kayode Animasaun [Ibadan, 2011]), Global Nollywood: Transnational Dimensions of an African Video Film Industry (edited by Matthias Krings and Onookome Okome [Indiana University Press, 2013]), Auteuring Nollywood: Critical Perspectives on The Figurine (edited by Adeshina Afolyan [Ibadan University Press, 2014]), Media Studies in Nigeria: Genesis and Detours (edited by Onookome Okome and Marcel Okhakhu [Ibadan, 2016]), and Nollywood: The Creation of Nigerian Film Genres (University of Chicago Press, 2016). These works have richly dealt with areas and issues that have attracted intellectual dialogues and discourses on Nollywood. However, Inside Nollywood is valuable, for the fact that no other publication "has focused on the richness of its [Nollywood's] diversity by discussing issues with critical perspectives on Nollywood tradition and sub-traditions and also by examining the realities and contradictions in the industry" (5).
The collection's mix of established and developing scholars clearly shows how the field is advancing, particularly considering the tremendous production of knowledge by the younger scholars, who are building on previous works of the older ones. However, the essays included do not come only from academics. Several contributors also serve as media practitioners, journalists, and communication and media experts such as critic and journalist Shuaibu Hussein, director and producer Christopher Ihidero, Teddy Haumakyugh of the Nigerian Film Cooperation, and publisher Tai Balofin.
The essays address movies, among other issues, with the intention of examining and reexamining old visual texts to create new critical approaches and templates. On the other hand, new visual texts are critiqued to understand the present twenty-first-century "anxieties" which have engulfed Nigerian (African) social realities. Both the old and new texts examined in this book are a true reflection of how, in the words of Valerie Orlando, "Twenty-first-century … filmmakers conceptualise cinema as a medium that is effective for representing the actuality of their time, as they instruct audiences worldwide about the hurdles...