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WHY THE RISE IN NIGERIAN FOLKLORE FILMS ARE THREATENED.

Recently, the Nigerian movie industry has started recording giant strides in film production with its presence in the global digital space like Netflix.

Unlike its music counterpart, the success in the movie industry is not just about the talented characters, cinematography, sound, lights, and storytelling but most especially, the Nigerian folklore.

What then is folklore?

Folklore are traditional beliefs, customs, and stories of a people, passed down from generations to generation through word of mouth. A story about originality.

The surge didn’t just happen overnight. It started from the awakening of some motivated producers, who dared to change the status quo by taking calculated bold steps.

Before now, the Nollywood industry has remained in a rat race, repeating the same, unrealistic, old stories in different shades and styles. The reason wasn’t far-fetched. There weren’t any deep pocket investors with the large vision to see beyond the limiting walls. Back then, the Nollywood industry was mainly occupied by enterprise owners, who were only concerned with making a few millions out of their meager investment.

Not until well spirited, passionate film makers in the likes of Kunle Afolayan, Genevieve Nnaji etc broke into mainstream, with movies like the Lion Heart, October 1 etc, and paved ways for other film enthusiasts, who were initially skeptical about returns on their investment, but with time, were able to see the bigger pictures, the promising opportunities, and global reach.

These once feeble hearted film makers have now stepped into the same unsafe muddy waters, and also setting the pace for others.

Nowadays, many Nigerian productions are beginning to anchor on folklore tales that are constantly enlightening the younger generation, helping new actors develop love for the Nigerian story, and educating the world about Nigeria ‘s uniqueness, diversities, victories, struggles, selfless service, freedom, heroes, and patriotism.

Seeing Nigeria’s folklore tales surge everyday on the big digital screen like Netflix and the cinemas, it is expedient that this trend remains encouraged as it has a tendency to showcase Nigeria ‘s cultural diversity.

To help nurture the surge and build upon it gradual expansion, it’s expedient that major stakeholders come on board to ensure Nigeria’s rich folklore are encouraged in order to help educate, enlighten and empower the younger generation just like the music industry, which has taken the center stage.

Government Inclusion

One major challenge Nollywood has faced in time past is the non inclusion of government in the entire film making process. Individual investors have limitations to their level of investment. They’re always confronted by so many unforeseen factors like lack of appropriate distribution channels, poor return on investment, piracy, disapproval from census boards, and marketing contingencies. With the inclusion of government, either through the states or at the federal level, film making will not only yield massive returns for both the investor and the government, it will provide a new channel of employment, regulate piracy, introduce an indigenous digital space, that is home grown, other than Netflix, with global recognition, and built for Africa by Africans. Actors and crew will have government regulated access to standard healthcare provisions, flexible working policies, and standardized payment plan comparable with other international standards.

Corporate Investment

Few corporations has shown significant interest in investing in the film industry with major corporations like Guinness still skeptical about the unsafe terrain called Nollywood. They need more convincing than mere pitch deck to embrace the new normal if the rising surge in folklore films will continue to hold water. These corporations are ready to sell their brands if the dramatic premise is aligned with their brands or corporate core values. However, the non-inclusion of the government in the pre, production and post production has limited their involvement on a large scale.

Joint Partnership

In the western world, when filmmakers are unable to get funds from the government, they resort to partnership. Oftentimes, film investment comes through joint production synergy. Three to five production companies come together to bring about a major hit movie. These production companies understand the big picture, the power of united force and percentage sharing ratio.

The above list are Nollywood next ticket to global overhaul, and except these three factors be considered, the continous surge in Nollywood folklore movies are threatened.

By Okechukwu Obi

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