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Horray for Nollywood
Audience members were treated to an erudite, insightful and informative discussion of the Nollywood film scene in the Q&A following the premiere screening of Peace Mission Tuesday evening at the AMC theatres  as director Dorothee Wenner (above right) and the film’s principal subject, Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima (left), held court. Wenner has worked for years as a delegate for African cinema at the Berlin International Film Festival, while Anyiam-Fiberesima is herself a seasoned Nollywood producer, not to mention a lawyer, so their viewpoints on the dynamics behind Nigeria’s hugely successful underground film industry – the third most profitable in the world behind the United States and India – were met with rapt attention.
There was even a request for guidance from a Canadian cinephile envious of Nollywood’s ability to connect so directly with its national audience and eager for advice on how Canadian films could do the same. “Find out what Canadians want to see,” was Anyiam-Fiberesima’s politely blunt response, noting that the success of Nollywood films comes from the fact that they are so audience- driven. Indeed, they have found wide popularity not just in Nigeria and Africa but throughout the African diaspora.
The fact that there is a new need to streamline the increasingly wide distribution of Nollywood films – which has grown from underground sales of VHS tapes and DVD’s to the fact that there is now a television station in Jamaica devoted entirely to showing Nollywood films – has prompted the Nigerian government to bring more structure to the grassroots industry. Nigerian theatres are now mandated to show a certain percentage of Nigerian films, but Anyiam-Fiberesima feels that the underground market will likely remain the main mode of distribution in the impoverished country and continent.
To see why so many people are cheering hooray for Nollywood, you can catch a screening this afternoon at 2:15 at AMC 1 or on Saturday at 6:15 at AMC 9.