Dayo Balogun’s Project Rebranding Nollywood is a documentary, which tries to discuss, albeit incompletely, the steps that have been taken and still need to be taken so as to rebrand Nollywood.
Balogun interviews notable Nollywood practitioners and film specialists; including Lancelot Imasuen, Femi Odugbemi, Zik Zulu Okafor, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, Ibinabo Fiberesima, Tony Abulu, Victor Edogun, Pauline Long, Ade Rawdiffe, Tom Rowland-Reese, Charles Thompson, Akin Salami, Phil Fload, Basi Akpabio and Uti Nwachukwu.
These respondents identify distribution and piracy, quality, training plus retraining as the problems, confronting the industry. Zik Zulu Okafor reminds the government that the Nigerian constitution mandates the authorities to establish a viewing centre in each of the 774 Local Governments in the country.
Whereas Uti Nwachukwu commends the quality of acting at the moment, Anyiam-Osigwe calls on the practitioners to desist from seeking foreign validation, noting that, after all, less than 10% of British films make the intended impact in the US. She admonishes that it is not reasonable to compete in that same space, but to keep opening our own spaces.
Femi Odugbemi calls for conscious training initiatives rather than on-the-job training by film-makers, who learned on-the-job as well. That way, the quality of training these newcomers receive is not up to scratch, he argues.
The irony in Project Rebranding Nollywood is that sound, one of the nagging hitches in Nollywood, marred the interview with Femi Odugbemi. For a project that is supposed to show the way, one wonders why the director permitted such a snag without even offering a subtitle to the audience.
Moreover, the film hardly captivates viewers as the story is not taut, though Balogun explains that it is still work-in-progress. One suspects that it is the failure of the film-maker to ask his respondents the right questions that diminishes the depth of knowledge and entertainment that a film with such a lofty title can offer.
As he ties the loose ends, Balogun also needs to do more research on Nollywood.