After Hollywood and Bollywood the world has recently been made familiar with Nollywood, the nickname for the Nigerian film industry. The Nigerian film industry produces about 50 movies per week, second only to India and more than the United States. Although its revenues are not on par Nollywood still generates an impressive $590 million annually.
The Nigerian film industry became popular in Zambia when the national broadcaster, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), went into partnership with Unilever, the multinational. It was then that they started airing national soaps called Super Story (now often used to relay governmental messages about wider issues such as health to the public).
The country has no official film commission but the Nigerian Film Corporation – a parastatal of the Federal Ministry of Information and Communication – is charged with the responsibility of promoting the development and growth of the Nigerian film industry.
The organisation is run by managing director Afolabi Adesanya, who can help with visas and getting you started.
Recent international productions include Half of a Yellow Sun (2013). The feature was filmed mostly in Calabar, in Cross River State in the south east of the country. For a personal and informative insight into filming in the country, read our inbyterview with the film’s producer, Andrea Calderwood. Other productions include Nigeria Breaks Transition Jinx (2007), Dear Mama (2007), Ibadan Cradle for Literate (2007), National Head Count Census (2007) and Eclipse (2006).
Foreign crews wishing to shoot in Nigeria, must be accredited.
This accreditation is obtainable from the Ministery of Information and National Orientation and is based on the recommendation of the Nigerian Film Corporation. The full requirements can be found on their website.
The fees for accreditation are as follows (in 2013):
— Feature films $500 per week
— Documentaries $150 per week
— TV Drama; Series & Reality TV $250 per week
— Commercials $350 /day
Bear in mind that no shoot is allowed to take place in the absence of a designated liaison officer. He or she will be a trained filmmaker appointed by the Nigerian Film Corporation.
They have two major responsibilities:
(1) Facilitating local permissions; and
(2) Ensuring that nothing detrimental to the image of Nigeria or the Nigerian people is included in the film.
For entire the duration of the shoot the officer is required to travel and stay with the crew.
Also note that, though you might be granted permission to start shooting, accreditation does not in any way imply that all permissions have been granted. The film is still subject to approval from the authorities during the actual filming.
The Ministry of Information and National Orientation says that, on the recommendation of the Nigerian Film Corporation, it “reserves the right to stop the shooting/production, if it has irrefutable evidence that any of the procedural regulations has been violated”.
All requests for permits will have to be submitted at least 28 days before shooting is due to take place. The NFC can help with viases but charges a fee per crew member, so bear this in mind.
Calabar (where they shoot Half of a Yellow Sun) is known in Nigeria for being a very quiet state. It has no oil and is famous for its yearly carnival every December.
A big draw of the area is the fully equipped film studio, Tinapa, built in 2008. Half of a Yellow Sun were the first full scale production to use it. The running of Studio Tinapa has just been taken over by Mosunmola Abudu (Mo). She has a long running chat show in Nigeria and is now setting up a 24 hour channel.
There is a film-friendly atmosphere in this part of Nigeria and according to our sources they are encouraging more foreign productions to film in the area.
Though post-production facilities are currently still pretty much non-existend in Nigeria, there are moves to set up facilities in the country. In fact, early 2013 Parminder Vir, founder and director of PVL Media, was said to be working on just such an initiative. More on this to follow.
In terms of other locations, make sure to check the various rain seasons (which isn’t the same all throughout the country) and do some research on the level of safety in the area you have in mind. When choosing carefully you can benefit from Nigeria’s wealth in nature, including a range of national parks and game reserves, beautiful hill ranges and waterfalls, plus nice beaches.