Oct. 2, GNA – Nigerian businessman Kola Aluko is looking forward to the first
fruits of the $30 million he invested last year in a US film company with the
release later this year of Manhattan Nocturne, a crime thriller directed by
American actor Adrien Brody.
Mr Aluko’s investment in Mr Brody’s Fable House studio in Hollywood marks the start of what experts believe could be a new trend, with the Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood, collaborating in the future with Hollywood and the international film industry.
“Kola Aluko’s move is just the natural progression of Nollywood, which has grown from strength to strength over the years,” noted a media analyst in London.
According to a study in 2006, the last time comprehensive data was collected by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) on the global film industry Nollywood was second to
Bollywood in India in terms of number of films produced, with Hollywood lying third.
According to the survey, Bollywood produced 1,091 feature-length films in 2006 compared to 872 productions (in video format) from Nollywood. In contrast, the US produced 485 major films.
More significantly, the phenomenal growth of Nollywood, in conjunction with the telecommunications sector, helped launch Nigeria last year to become the number one economy in Africa after its GDP was revised up by 89 per cent, thus overtaking South Africa.
Nollywood contributed 1.4 per cent of Nigeria’s £307 billion GDP.
“Kola Aluko’s investment is in line with what the former UNESCO Director General, Koïchiro Matsuura, said in 2006 when he noted that film and video production were shining examples of how cultural industries – as vehicles of identity, values and meanings – could open the door to dialogue and understanding between peoples, but also to economic growth and development,” the media analyst said.
“Kola Aluko is a pioneer in the sense that Nigerian money is now being invested in the US film industry as opposed to American money going in to Nollywood. However, in terms of collaboration, Kola Aluko’s move could prove beneficial to the Nigerian film industry,” the media analyst added.
Mr Aluko’s move into the US film sector has come at a time of growing interest from China in the film business.
Chinese billionaire, Wang Jianli, is eyeing the £1 billion sale of British–owned Odeon cinema chain.
“This all makes for an interesting period for the global film industry,” the media analyst said, adding: “Kola Aluko has made the right move and it will be very good for Nollywood in the long run.”
Already Mr Aluko, whose investment in Fable House amounted to a sizeable part of the studio’s initial capital, has by this move established links with Chinese media and film investors who have also put money into Fable House.
According to the 2006 UIS survey, much of Nollywood’s production is low-budget (usually under £20,000) and released on DVDs, with 99 per cent of screenings in informal settings rather than cinemas.
“With Kola Aluko’s tie-up with Fable House and Chinese media investors, we could well see more Nollywood productions in cinemas, thus opening the industry up to a much wider audience and beating those who pirate these films,” noted the media analyst.