The term ‘Nollywood’ commonly used to refer to movies from the shores of Nigeria is one that needs a little more of a definition In My Humble Opinion.
I say this because, without proper definition it becomes a little difficult to determine or decide what movies can be included in the class of ‘Nollywood’ movies….. The public really needs this definition as most people don’t know what to consider as Nollywood…. Is it just Cinema films, or home videos or TV programs or everything?
Let’s take a look at the other two major film industries in the world… Bollywood and Hollywood:
Bollywood, which a lot of people incorrectly believe is the whole of Indian Cinema actually refers to the ‘HINDI SPEAKING’ movies from India. It’s headquarters is the larger Mumbai area (formally Bombay) and I repeat it consists of only the Hindi speaking movies.
Like Nigeria, India has got a large number of tribes and languages and a lot of them have their thriving film industries with respective -WOOD names. e.g.s include Tamil cinema – Kollywood, Telugu cinema – Tollywood, Kannada cinema – Sandalwood, and Malayalam cinema – Mollywood.
Hollywood, actually refers to a district in Los Angeles, California known for being the bedrock of American cinema. The area however became so strongly associated with the film industry of America, that the name started being colloquially used to represent the entire motion picture industry of the United States. Please note this refers to CINEMA MOVIES, not as much home videos or TV programs.
Now unto the big question of the day: Is Half Of A Yellow Sun a ‘Nollywood’ movie?
Varying opinions and thoughts on the issue have risen from various quarters by various individuals concerning the ‘Nollywoodness’ of the upcoming movie adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s Award winning book. Now, considering the fact that I’m not sure about the criteria for being a ‘Nollywood’ movie I will not ‘categorically’ say it is one (even though nothing anyone says will convince me that it isn’t one).
However I will point out some issues below for your consideration.
1. Half Of A Yellow Sun is adapted from a book by a Nigerian Author (abi is that in dispute too?)…. This may not carry so much weight as I’m sure Hollywood has adapted a number of books not originally American but I would like to point that the Story in itself is VERY NIGERIAN & can’t fit any other context… Hollywood mostly shies away from something they cannot make look entirely theirs.
2. The Director of the film is Nigerian. So is the lead actor, and a good number of cast members…. You may notice I just said Nigerian without alluding to the fact that these guys may either just have Nigerian Origins & not have their Nigerian passports as they predominantly don’t ply their trade here but I will say…. Whatever! I don’t really care for that.
It wasn’t so long ago that Britain gave a couple of born, bred, buttered & then relocated Africans Citizenship to participate in the Olympics… A good number had no blood/birth relationship with England before then but they were called British and have been called so ever since in the media…. This they did not put into consideration when they called young Micheal Adebolajo Nigerian or Nigerian British, after the boy was born, bred, buttered and battered all in lovely England. I have not read a single news article that remotely mentions if he had even ever been to Nigeria, but yaay he is isn’t he? (Please note we do not condone his actions in anyway, but are citing his story as a case study).
So why can’t we say that Chiwetel Ejiofor is Nigerian? Or Sophie Okonedo Or David Oyelowo Or Obba Babatunde Or Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje Or Nonso Anozie Or Hugo Weaving, Or David Okeniyi Or Hakeem Kae-Kazim Or Sade, Or Seal Or Gbenga Akinnagbe Or Edun Adetomiwa Or Taio cruz Or Richard Ayoade Or Donald Faison Or Dizzie Rascal Or Lemar Or Tyler the Creator Or Tinie Tempah…. Do you really want me to continue?
The question I ask you is this: If you do not claim ownership of your fruits if/when they fall from your tree into your farmer-neighbor’s compound, do you expect such neighbor to always tell the world they fell from a tree in your compound into his?! Most times if you don’t speak up he will just claim it as his own especially if it is the best of your harvest! Is it not Uzodinma Iweala that they have finished hijacking from our hands even though his Mother is our current Minister of Finance?
In My Humble Opinion, it isn’t really about any terms or conditions on being Nigerian but more about our mindset towards these set of ‘Foreign based Nationals’ and how eloquently our MEDIA do their job of Claiming all the Claimables!!! Abi you people think claiming is a Sin ni? If they can throw all the bad eggs at us, we can as well claim all the good ones too.
3. The film was shot on location entirely in Nigeria! This one should count small na abi?
4. Yes it looks like the funding for Half Of A Yellow Sun came from foreign quarters……I will ASSUME that this is the reason for the diversity in Cast members (I repeat this is an assumption), but does that mean the person who drops the money determines the nationality of the film? If it does I give it to them (in their mind). At this junction may I ask, ‘Is Ije a Nollywood film?’ Think on that as well!
Beyond all arguments and all the terms and conditions for being labeled a ‘Nollywood’ film…..We here at MoviePencil will hold our ground on this and forever refer to Half Of A Yellow Sun as a NIGERIAN film at least or maybe Nigerian-British while we wait for Nollywood to do their job of CLAIMING IT PROPER!