An Inquiry into Institutional Support for the Benin Video-Film Culture in Nollywood
Authors: O.S. Omoera
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Today hundreds of indigenous movies are produced yearly in Benin, Ebira, Fulfulde, Ijaw, among other hinterland Nigerian languages, besides the so-called dominant Nollywood films of Igbo/English, Yoruba, and Hausa language expressions. Employing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, this paper inquires into the level of institutional support the Benin language video-film industry gets from development agents, including the government. There are so many untapped cultural, artistic, and economic potentials for Nigeria’s movie-making and entertainment industry in the hinterlands which can further boost its Unique Selling Point in the national and global arenas. Regrettably, these micro-national film cultures remain largely underexplored and under-theorized, but have been demonstrated to be representationally consequential in terms of production output, audience reception, and opportunities for contending views, and voices. It is in this respect that a fuller reflection on, and influence of issues in Nollywood film cultures have become needful. This is to enable film scholars, enthusiasts, theorists, critics, and entrepreneurs to better understand and navigate the boundless cultural, artistic and economic potentials of Nollywood against the background of the kind of support it gets/should get from relevant development agents. Focussing on the Benin film industry situation, this paper finds that a significant percentage of the sampled audience holds that the support the Benin video-film enjoys is very marginal in spite of its noticeable potentials. Consequently, it recommends greater support from relevant authorities for the emergent industry by way of provision of accessible credit facilities, training schools, and requisite technologies to strengthen the capacities of its practitioners, and enhance the production of more culturally germane Benin video-films, and ultimately contribute to Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP).