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AuthorPasschier, Shmerah
AbstractNew Nollywood is eclipsing old Nollywood as first wave films are supplanted by second wave films characterized by improved narrative complexity and aesthetic nuance reflected in advanced overall production values. Nollywood is showing signs of far reaching impact as the films mature significantly after two decades of production. The explosion of Nollywood films consumed across Africa and exported to the diaspora as packaged popular culture from Anglophone Africa has accelerated a major turning point in the history of Nollywood as this mode of filmmaking is now considered a transnational practice. Nollywood films are mimetically reproduced in the pan-African context as well as globally. This explosion of popular cinema has been facilitated by digital innovation. As filmmaking technology evolves to be more cost-effective and user-friendly, it erases the barrier to entry for new filmmakers. Likewise, as the digital revolution transmogrifies filmmaking, „Global North‟ cinema cultures of celluloid and the silver screen are in decline (Economist 2013). But even as the old film model is atrophying, democratization of filmmaking technology means that anyone with imagination, aptitude and meagre resources can now make a feature film. No one understands this better than Nigerians who release up to 50 new films each week, more than Bollywood (15 films/week) and Hollywood (10 films/week) (Economist 2006, UNESCO 2009). Nollywood filmmakers have harnessed the tools of the digital revolution to redefine the terms of popular culture production, consumption and distribution. Nollywood films are not only inexpensive to make but also offer good returns on a minimal investment – lessons of enormous significance for filmmakers elsewhere in the „Global South‟, especially in an era where media convergence and global competition implies a trend towards consumers expecting online entertainment to be „Free‟ (Anderson 2009: 137). In this research the filmmakers themselves and their revisionist practices are the voices of vernacular theory in constructing Lessons from New Nollywood: A Theory 6 from the Global South. In the constantly changing landscape of the digital revolution, theory tries to stay abreast of ubiquitous transformation and thus theory: „will be understood here as any attempt to make meaningful generalizations for interpreting or evaluating local experiences and practices (Jenkins 1999: 234).‟ Jenkins intertwines theory and practice as co-dependent concepts that are inextricable. In digital filmmaking as in the domain of digital media, practice precedes theory and theory hypothesises practice.