Films & Schedules

  • Peace Mission

  • Dorothee Wenner

80 minutes
Colour/Digital Betacam

Production Company:
pong Kröger und
Scheffner GbR

Executive Producer:
Merle Kröger, Philip Scheffner
Merle Kröger, Philip Scheffner
Bernd D. Meiners
Merle Kröger
Pascal Capitolin
Philip Scheffner
With: Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima, Kate Henshaw-Nuttal, Ifeanyi Onyeabor, Mahmood Ali-Balogun, Dr. Don Pedro Obasseki, Maimunah Sayyadi, Faruk Sayyadi

International Sales Agent:
First Hand Films

TIFF Tags: Documentary 

Tuesday September 0906:00PM AMC 10 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Wednesday September 1002:15PM AMC 1 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Saturday September 1306:15PM AMC 9 Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

It has become a phenomenon, a mystery and a set of statistics tossed about with awe. What is going on in Nigeria? Its direct-to-video movie industry, colloquially known as Nollywood, churns out approximately two thousand new features each year. In little over a decade it has grown to a $250 million industry, ranking behind only the United States and India in terms of cash generated.

But how can an industry this big still be underground? Peace Mission offers a primer on Nigeria's booming movie culture through the eyes of one of its most dynamic movers and shakers. Super-producer Peace Anyiam-Fiberesima roves about Lagos making deals and green-lighting new projects, always pushing for better quality films and a richer bottom line. Dorothee Wenner, a Berlin-based film expert who has spent many years promoting African film in the West, follows Peace – whose father named her during the Nigerian-Biafran War – as she connects with directors, actors and thinkers, each of whom has strong opinions about the secret to Nollywood's success. There are lovely surprises, including an introduction to Maimunah Sayyadi, who edits and creates 3-D digital effects for her husband Faruk Sayyadi's films while keeping a baby perched on her lap and a veil covering her head.

For her part, Peace, who also founded the African Movie Academy Awards, credits Nollywood's success to Nigerian self-reliance. “We've made it clear that with few resources you can tell your stories,” she says. “We don't make films that pander to European or Western tastes.”

With plots that feature soap opera infidelity and frequent witchcraft, these movies are hardly high art. And yet, like American soap operas, they offer the opportunity to address social issues through narrative and the fantasy of a life of aspiration.

Driven by one woman and illustrated with plenty of clips from recent films, Peace Mission is a lively survey of Nollywood. Even better, it treats these films not as some strange side phenomenon, but as part of a genuine cinematic culture that plays by its own rules.

Cameron Bailey

Dorothee Wenner is a freelance writer and filmmaker living in Berlin. She is the director of the Berlinale Talent Campus, and has been on the selection committee for the International Forum of New Cinema since 1990. Her work includes the short film Hollywood Killed Me (88) and the feature Peace Mission (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award