Director John Singleton and Nollywood, The Nigerian Film Industry – Nollywood comes to Hollywood for One Week

(PRWEB) June 11, 2005

Prolific director John Singleton believes that it’s time that Americans pay serious attention to Nollywood, the Nigerian Hollywood. Putting his time where his mouth is, Singleton who created such diverse new and old classic films as Boyz in the Hood, Shaft 2000, Higher Learning and 2 Fast & 2 Furious will participate in the Nollywood Rising Opening Day Ceremonies on June 14th and Symposium on June 15th.

In recent years the Nigerian Film industry has grown rapidly to become the third largest film producing industry in the world after the renowned Hollywood of the United States and Bollywood of India. With the production of over 50 movie titles per week, Nollywood, as the Nigerian film industry has come to be known, is beginning to command global attention by its size and work rate and is arguably one of Nigeria’s positive cultural contributions to the international community.

In recognition of this need to examine the impact and nature of this unique development in new media, Gemafrique, a firm of International Meeting and Events. Planners and Finnu International Productions will host Nollywood Rising: Global Perspectives on the Nigerian Film Industry, the first international convention and Symposium on Nollywood titled from June 13th -17th 2005 at the Hilton Los Angeles, Universal City Hotel USA. The project is coordinated in the USA by esteemed Dr. Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie, Assistant Professor of Art History at UCSB; and in Nigeria by Chike Maduekwe, Gemafrique Inc., Lagos. Oris Erhuero from HBO’s acclaimed Sometimes in April is a spokesperson, along with other critical Hollywood players. Sponsors include AVID, Digidesign, Crunk Energy Drink, Nigerian Fabrics and Fashions and The Magic Johnson Theater. The industry has not only transformed the way Nigerians see themselves, it has also become one of the major sources of employment in the country with over 5,000 guild members in 2004.

The Nollywood Convention USA 2005 investigates the emergence of new media in Nigerian film and visual culture. The digital video recording of Nollywood is a leap forward that accurately prefigures the future of film industries worldwide.

Nollywood was created in Nigeria and is rapidly becoming the first true mass medium for continental and expatriate Africans in the 21st century. The accompanying symposium will feature presentations on topical issues in the industry by film experts, academics and celebrities.

The Convention and Symposium is jointly sponsored by various departments and institution of the University of California Santa Barbara including the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center-IHC; the Center for Film, Television and New Media; the Center for Black Studies and the Department of History of Art and Architecture Department. Other sponsors include TANTRUM RECORDS of Montecito. It is also supported by a consortium of major Nigerian Film Industry Companies led by GEMAFRIQUE Inc., Lagos Nigeria.

The Nollywood Convention will become a bi-continental annual event, holding one year in the USA and the other year in Nigeria. On each occasion Nollywood Rising will pick one fundraising project to support. Projects will vary widely and include Nollywood Technical Improvement Funds; support for AIDS research; rehabilitation projects of various sorts; scholarships for training programs to the USA and so on. This year’s fundraising project is the Oraeze High School Rehabilitation Project which is designed to identify and help encourage younger people who will thereby end up as trained professionals in various technical and production aspects of Nollywood. The rehabilitation project helps provide infrastructural and technical support for a pilot educational program of this sort.

In addition to Dr. Ogbechie, confirmed speakers for Nollywood Rising include: PEN Hemingway Award-winning novelist Chris Abani, Ayuko Babu, Director, Pan-African Film Festival, Los Angeles; Cornelius Moore, Director, Library of African Cinema, California Newsreel; Abubakar Sanogo, ABD, School of Cinema-Television, University of Southern California; Professor N. Frank Ukadike, Tulane University, New Orleans; Professor Moradewun Adejunmobi, University of California, Davis; Dr. Jude G. Akudinobi, University of California, Santa Barbara; Jonathan Haynes; Sarah Manyika, PhD (Berkeley), Writer, and Independent Scholar; Tom Ebong, PhD (Wayne State), Independent Scholar; and Mahen Bonetti, Director, New York African Film Festival.

The market for these films is a vast one. In addition, this new African Hollywood presents opportunities for African people throughout the Diaspora who are interested in working in film. With opportunities in the United States appearing sparse for African American filmmakers, this brave new world has something critical to offer.

For further information contact:

Abiola Abrams, American Media Representative

(212) 426.0056 (212) 457.6133

Dr. Sylvester Okwunodu Ogbechie

University of California Santa Barbara


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