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Nollywood: Action Stops At Asaba, Returns To Lagos




Change is supposed to be constant and dynamic. But in the case of Nollywood, Nigeria’s movie industry, its been a different ball game.

Bandwagon effect is the language. Like the nascent industry, it is an all comers arena, any land storyline or faces that make it for Paul, automatically becomes the choice of others.
Suffice it to say that when Asaba, the Delta State capital turned the location ground, the trend was as massive.

Enugu, Owerri, etc once held sway but nothing lasts forever. Lagos which started it all is back on the block. This time it is Lekki.


Since 1992 when the motion picture industry metamorphosed to Nollywood with the monster hit of a language movie (Living in Bondage), the industry has never been the same.

From then on, Lagos-Surulere (Winnies hotel) became the hotspot for movie making. It became the major convergence for actors, budding actors, script writers, costumiers, production hands, among others. It became so popular that some top actors got offices and even lived within the vicinity. Hit and hit movies began to be produced with Nigerians craving for more and the industry without the input of government, began to grow in leaps and bounds beyond the shores of the country.

At a point, Lagos became saturated. With the constant harassment of urchins, tax among other inconveniences, Enugu State became the next hub for filmmaking. Taking advantage of the serene environment, the industry moved to the ‘Coal City.’

 For so many years till now, the industry thrived. Home videos were churned out. The market further boomed. More budding actors groomed their craft and other sectors of movie production blossomed.  Asaba, the capital city of Delta State was later discovered and as expected, the industry moved there. Week-in, week-out, the act of movie making increased. With the popularity and influence of Nollywood, the demand became more thereby increasing production. 

As a result, it became a trade for everybody who can handle the camera. This brought about many shoddy jobs. Low quality movies began to adorn shelves but with the exception of few outstanding flicks. With time, Asaba became the center for epic movies and comedy. 

 As again expected, Asaba became saturated as well.

At a time, the motion picture industry took another turn which prompted the movement back to Lagos. Asaba got to its lowest point when the industry got to its nadir when it became a beehive for pimps, prostitutes, hustlers of different hues. As a result, cash became the in-thing. Movie directors who would hitherto use an actor who would convincingly interpret a role were bought over by ‘desperados’ crazy for fame. Poorly paid directors began to use some faces who bought-in their way to become famous.

Some of these characters turned over-night producers. Meanwhile, Lagos with the infrastructural development in the Lekki-Ajah-Epe axis became inviting again. Some smart dudes discovered the posh environment and put it into use to produce quality movies. Experienced and thoroughbred actors relegated to the background began to feature in quality productions. Some of these movies gradually began to be recognized and the awards came pouring in. 

With the advent of cinema houses, the demand for quality movies became the order of the day. Once again, serious minded filmmakers took advantage of the situation and began to shoot quality movies that in turn raked in millions of wads into their accounts.
At the moment, many movie producers, actors, costumiers etc have once again relocated to Lagos taking advantage of the Lekki-Ajah-Epe area that is devoid of any form of harassment coupled with environment and property(props) needed for a smooth quality production. As a result, apartment owners are also happy as they too are making good money. From information, some apartments cost as much as N50,000 for a one - day shoot, some N100,000 or more daily. Some producers as we learnt have booked for various apartments for months.

Another locale in Lagos gaining traction is Badagry. The not too developed area is gradually being utilized by fillmakers who are atking advantage of the mostly serene environment, beaches and few developed areas to shoot movies. With time, it would be at par with the Lekki end of the state as infrastructural development is springing up in different parts of the town that leads to neigbouring country, Benin Republic.

It is noteworthy to  say that the 'Tin City' Jos, capital city of Plateau State has always been a choice locale for movies but is not as pronounced as Asaba and other areas in the South west and South east.

Though Asaba is still thriving more in comedy and epic movies, same with Enugu; Awka, Owerri among other places are gaining prominence. 
However, Lagos remains the 'City of Excellence' from whence Nollywood was berthed.


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