5 May 2009 The Nigerian film industry has overtaken Hollywood and closed the gap on India, the global leader in the number of movies produced each year, according to a new United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report released today.
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.
The three cinema heavyweights were followed by eight countries that produced more than 100 films: Japan (417), China (330), France (203), Germany (174), Spain (150), Italy (116), South Korea (110) and the United Kingdom (104).
Key to Nollywood’s explosive success is Nigerian filmmakers’ reliance on video instead of film, reducing production costs, and, as the survey points out, the West African country has virtually no formal cinemas, with about 99 per cent of screenings in informal settings, such as home theatres.
The survey also revealed that about 56 per cent of Nollywood films are made in local languages, while English remains a prominent language, accounting for 44 per cent, which may contribute to Nigeria’s success in exporting its films.
According to the study, US movies continue to dominate cinema admissions around the world, and all of the top ten films seen in Australia, Bulgaria Canada, Costa Rica, Namibia, Romania, and Slovenia were US made.
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