True to form, Nollywood was buzzing this year. Keeping up is tough. Here are five Nollywood gains of 2015 you may have missed but shouldn’t have.
Although Nollywood has traditionally been recognised for quantity rather than quality, things are changing and the wider film industry is starting to notice.
One organisation to recognise this development is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). In 2014, the academy approved a selection committee of Nollywood stakeholders to consider Nigerian entries for the Foreign Language Film Award at the Oscars.
Now although the committee (probably rightly) concluded that none of the films submitted achieved the standard necessary this year, we can still hope. Nollywood is an industry that is evolving with its own themes and its own aims, and as many industry professionals have argued, it is an industry that has first to create its own values, and be able to credit itself, before seeking credit from others.
Nonetheless, there is nothing to say that a Nollywood production (or an actor, yes, you, OC Ukeje) won’t be bringing home an Oscar in 2016 and beyond.
From her emotional and inspiration performance in the award-winning Brave, to her heart-wrenching depiction of a battered wife in Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Adesua Etomi has gone from strength to strength and in true Nollywood fashion has graced cinema screens countless times in 2015.
That flawless face has laughed, screamed and cried, and yet remained humble all the way! Her role as Sheila in the returning TV series, MTV Shuga has been nothing but a testament to this woman’s flexibility and overall fabulousness.
Expect much more from this talented lady in 2016.
From Tinsel and Super Story to Gidi Up and Lekki Wives, Nigerian TV shows have been on the up and up. Yet 2015 has seen an explosion in (semi) original TV series that not only feature our favourite Nollywood stars but are bringing laughter to hearts and joy to eyes.
Jenifa’s Diary and Cougars pick up the themes dropped off by the popular films that preceded them. And wholly new series like Before 30 and Husbands of Lagos present the urban Nigeria of 2015 without losing the cultural identity that links them to the country and industry that birthed them.
While many were off settling down to Scandal and Being Mary Jane, Nollywood was churning out even more fresh and hilariously funny content.
Now we all know that Nollywood knows no bounds, so it should come as no surprise that some of the industry’s best-loved leading ladies are stepping into new territory and having a go at producing.
In 2015 not only did Susan Peters get married, the Bursting Out and Champagne actress also produced her first movie Don’t Cry for Me.
Charting emotional betrayal is nothing new for Nollywood but the execution of the twists and turns is indeed exquisite.
Another Nollywood favourite, Genevieve Nnaji put on her producing hat for the first time this year with the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) 2015 closing film, Road to Yesterday. Both ladies stayed true to their acting talents and starred in as well as producing, and in Susan’s case, writing, these films.
As the industry evolves, so too are its professionals. 2015 has certainly been one of extreme quality. Long may this standard continue.
From Lagos, to London, with the amount of films produced each year, there is no surprise that Nollywood’s professionals won time and time again when attending the biggest film and fashion events of the year. Some of the year’s highlights include; the Africa Movie Academy Awards, the Nigeria Entertainment Awards and of course, Lagos Fashion Week.
Week in week out, Nollywood stars continue to slay, and it’s not just the ladies, I can testify that the men too continue to be on point!
2015 actually had too much going on for me to keep up with and I know 2016 won’t be any different. Bring. It. On.