Formalizing Nollywood: Gentrification in the Contemporary Nigerian Film Industry

Igwe, Ezinne (2018) Formalizing Nollywood: Gentrification in the Contemporary Nigerian Film Industry. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.

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This study investigates transformations in the Nigerian film industry, focusing specifically on a segment of the industry known as Nollywood. Typically characterized as an informal industry due to its low budgets and unofficial modes of distribution, Nollywood is regularly referred to as a success story, accounting for $7.2 billion (1.42%) of Nigeria’s gross domestic product. Because of this success, the Nigerian government, under the President Goodluck Jonathan administration (2010-2015), introduced various mechanisms to formalize and economize Nollywood in the quest to maximize its potentials and diversify the Nigerian economy. This endeavour availed the industry of film fund, professional training and enhanced distribution. My study focuses on this specific area, addressing wider issues of debate relating to how countries seek to economically benefit from their film economies and the role policy plays in the formalization of film industries. Existing studies on Nollywood have concentrated on a point in the evolution of the industry, an era now labelled the old Nollywood. Whole studies on political economic matters, national cinema discourses and individual and corporate efforts and motivation towards these transformations remain lacking. In this study, I examine as gentrification the efforts of the state, corporate organizations and individuals to transform Nollywood. Adopted from urban studies, gentrification is applied figuratively to examine the motivations propelling these transformations in order to determine its implications for the industry and the industry players. I draw on primary data sourced using a method I term econo-ethnography that combines forms of ethnography, economic base theory and political economy analysis. This data is interrogated using a theoretical framework that incorporates literature from the fields of political economy, gentrification and national cinema, the intention being to understand the development of evolving film economies, particularly Nollywood. I argue that with the right policies, sustained state and corporate support, Nollywood would be gentrified. However, this attempt to gentrify Nollywood impacts on the economic processes of the industry as well as the practices of the industry players. I find that with deep-rooted informality, inefficiencies in policymaking and implementation and sporadic nature of state support, gentrification will further sector Nollywood creating new and varied opportunities for filmmakers, distributors and consumers.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: I wish to acknowledge the help and support of some important persons without whom this thesis wouldn’t have been possible. I will start by thanking and blessing God my maker for all blessings, resilience and grace. I am not without Him. While I was rounding up my Master’s study at the University of Birmingham, Ozlington recommended Birmingham City University for my PhD. Following his advice remains one of my best decisions in life. I am very grateful for having the right people in my way at all times. Thank you to my supervisory team who assessed me and saw the potential: John Mercer, Oliver Carter and Ayo Oyeleye who left on sabbatical leave. John Mercer’s support as supervisor was invaluable. Although busy with many responsibilities, he found time to provide feedback, offer suggestions and research into new fields. Oliver Carter remains exceptional – patient, persistent, supportive, empathetic and most importantly, generous with his time – providing feedback on the minutest detail. I appreciate John and Oliver for boosting my confidence, looking out for me, supporting me through challenging periods in the course of this study and helping direct my proposal and research into what it now is. I wish to acknowledge Jacqueline Taylor for making this PhD journey interesting with the ADM PhD mentoring scheme. I extend my gratitude to Khulod Mohammed and Sarah Raine for their friendship and times spent together and the valuable pieces of advice they offered. To those interviewed for my study, friends who opened their doors to me, filmmakers who allowed me on their set, bodies that let me into their meetings, this would not have been possible without you. Thank you. Thank you to the University of Nigeria for making this dream come through by offering me sponsorship. Thank you to the Federal Republic of Nigeria for the scheme that made this sponsorship possible. I say thank you to the entire Igwe’s family for all the love, prayers and support. To Ezepue’s family I say thank you immensely for being such a blessing and for giving me reason to laugh even in hard times. And finally, saving the best for the last, thanks to my loving husband, Ikechukwu Snr and son, Ikechukwu Jnr who arrived just at the perfect time.
19 March 2018Completed
Uncontrolled Keywords: Nollywood, Gentrification, Econoethnography
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-04 - languages and area studies > CAH19-04-07 - African and modern Middle Eastern studies
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-04 - cinematics and photography
Divisions: Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Kip Darling
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 16:55
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:57

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