Thursday, May 7, 2009
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) survey, Bollywood – as the Mumbai-based film industry is known – produced 1,091 feature-length films in 2006. In comparison, Nigeria’s moviemakers, commonly known as Nollywood, came out with 872 productions – all in video format – while the United States produced 485 major films.
“Film and video production are shining examples of how cultural industries, as vehicles of identity, values and meanings, can open the door to dialogue and understanding between peoples, but also to economic growth and development,” said UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura.
“This new data on film and video production provides yet more proof of the need to rethink the place of culture on the international political agenda,” he added.
To gain a better appreciation of the Nollywood industry, I strongly suggest you watch Franco Sacchi's film, 'This is Nollywood.' 'This is Nollywood' shows not only how the introduction of digital technology has revolutionized (loosely stated) one of the world's poorest (and by some accounts failing) countries, but also speaks to the very theme of culture highlighted in the UNESCO report. Ethan Zuckerman blogged about the film back in 2007 (I'm a bit behind, it would seem).
But there's more: according to CNN, Nigeria's hip hop industry is also growing. Like the film industry, Nigerian hip hop is regarded as a cultural alternative to Western music and in some sense serves as a unifier in what is a most ethnically diverse state: