How it all began
The genesis of the Workshops was a trip to Nigeria to make the documentary “This is Nollywood.” When filmmakers Bob Caputo, Franco Sacchi and Aimee Corrigan arrived in the Nigerian capital Lagos, just the ride in from the airport—two hours to go a few miles in utterly snarled horn-blaring traffic, eyes aching from the smog—gave a small taste of the conditions Nollywood directors face daily. Our admiration for their determination began at that moment. Bob later commented that in 30 years of covering Africa for National Geographic and Time magazine he had never come across a story so positive and full of hope.
The promise of digital technology
During production, we experienced the humming energy of Nollywood first hand. We met dozens of Nigerian feature film producers, directors, writers, crew, and actors. Nigerian filmmakers produce hundreds of feature-length films with digital cameras every year, most for less than $20,000. The movies are transferred to DVD and distributed to video shops and market stalls all over English-speaking Africa. Here was not only a rare positive story about Africa, but also one that embodied the egalitarian promise of digital technology: Anybody can make a movie.
Putting in the message
In Lagos, we connected with filmmaker Bond Emeruwa who allowed us to travel with his crew and document the making of the action film, “Check Point.” Bond opened our eyes to the need for training and support for filmmakers in Nigeria. Nollywood filmmakers are conscious of the responsibility they have toward their society— Bond says they feel an obligation to “put a message in there.” Nollywood serves as a vehicle to inspire and inform an ever-growing audience around the world.
In the end, the film we made is about more than a fascinating and unheralded movie industry. It’s about people surmounting obstacles to achieve their dreams. With the Nollywood Workshops, we intend to support the growth of Nollywood by providing valuable training and sparking collaboration in a global film community.