Review: The Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success, Beyond Nollywood

Review: The Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success, Beyond Nollywood

The Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success by Nadia Denton charts the emergence of a new wave of Nigerian audio-visual content and covers a wide range of enlightening and engaging topics like the emergence of indie films, documentary, animation, experimental, music videos and diaspora films.

It is neatly and helpfully divided into distinct sections in accordance with the traditional chronological process of releasing a film globally: finance, development, marketing, exhibition, and distribution (plus a generous index full of helpful web links and references). Each segment opens with a digestible, informative breakdown of the subject’s key issues before segueing into 78 in-depth interviews with Nigerian filmmakers and industry professionals who speak in detail about their careers, offering advice on the key areas of finance, development, marketing, exhibition and distribution from a Nigerian cultural perspective.

Worthy of note is the interview with the Chris Obi – Rapu (popularly called the father of ‘Nollywood’), best known as the director of the much-famed Living in Bondage movie, which anchored the phenomenon of Nollywood. Denton also interviews Kunle Afolayan, a leading movie director in Nigeria and Dr. Ladi Sandra Adamu, an associate professor of mass communication from the Ahmadu Bello University and a leading authority on Hausa filmmaking and cultural representation.

The Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success is also a reference manual for filmmakers, industry professionals, investors, policy makers, social commentators, educational institutions, film festivals and audiences with an interest in African cinema.

According to the author, “It is extremely well-resourced and would serve as a reference manual designed for a new generation of ambitious Nigerian filmmakers who want to have theatrical runs of their films, compete on an international level, tour festival circuits, secure favourable distribution deals and win academy nominations.” In the introduction, she argues that Nigerian cinema is on the brink of a renaissance, and primed to move beyond the stereotypical landscape of straight-to-video/TV histrionics. The book does a fine job of illustrating how such a revolution might take place.

It’s notable too, that Denton has assembled experts from around the globe (Africa, United States and Europe), giving the book an international, accessible flavour. Herself a leading authority on African film, having curated programmes at the British Film Institute and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, as well as consulted for several film festivals, funding bodies and film schools, Nadia Denton brings a wealth of experience to bear in the Nigerian Filmmaker’s Guide to Success.

For anyone interested in the business of Nigerian cinema at whatever level, it is a must-read, which will also come in handy as a reference tool, for in-depth information about the ever-growing industry.


Oyindamola Olaniyan holds a in Botany from Lagos State University. Broadly experienced in this area, her core expertise includes social media management, content development and brand identity.

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