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Nollywood Babylon - DVD

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Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood, is the third largest in the world—an unstoppable economic and cultural force that has taken the continent by storm and is now bursting beyond the borders of Africa.

Nollywood cinema was born of the street markets of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest metropolis. Unfazed by low production values and shoe-string budgets, enterprising filmmakers created a brash, inventive and wildly popular form of cinema that has Nigerians Nollywood-obsessed. In these films, voodoo and magic infuse urban stories, reflecting the kinetic collision of traditional mysticism and modern culture that Nigerians experience every day.

Nollywood Babylon is a feature documentary detailing the Nigerian film industry’s phenomenal success. Propelled by a booming ’70s soundtrack of African underground music, the film drops viewers into the chaos of the Idumota market. Here, among the bustling stalls, films are sold and unlikely stars are born, like Aki and Pawpaw—Nigeria’s superstar acting duo—kings of the streets who are small in stature but pack massive screen appeal. And Helen Ukpabio, a former cult member who has become one of Nigeria’s most successful producers, and whose “voodoo horror” films have drawn a multitude of converts to her influential Christian sect. 

At the film’s heart is Nollywood’s most popular filmmaker, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, aka “The Guv’nor.” Lancelot, who at 36 has made over 150 films, is a master of the “sharp, sharp, let’s go, let’s go” film style—furious, inspired productions that exude creative flair. Committed to “making money and making statements,” he is a true innovator of the form and reflects the soul of Nollywood cinema.

Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal, the filmmakers behind Discordia (2004) and Bombay Calling (2006), present Nollywood Babylon, an electric vision of a modern African metropolis and a revealing look at the powerhouse that is Nigerian cinema.

2009, 73 min 57 s

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Includes the following titles

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