This website is a way to share my research on—and my enthusiasm for—Nigerian films. When the first “Nollywood” films appeared in 1992, I was living in Nigeria as a Fulbright lecturer. I was at a turning point in my career, with a lot of traveling and a career in British literary studies behind me. The first thing that became clear about the future was that Nigeria was the place for me—I found something compelling in its vast scale, cultural depth and variety, dynamism, and self-confident power. The video films expressed all of that, and spoke powerfully to some of my more particular interests. I’d been immersed in African filmmaking of the francophone persuasion, and while I’d found much to like and love about the films, the Nigerian videos brought a sudden liberation from that cinema’s depressing problems of distribution and neocolonial dependence. It was a real revolution. And through a long period of traveling around West Africa on public transportation, talking to whoever I met, I’d developed an interest in and respect for the perspectives of ordinary people. Nollywood made that popular culture manifest on a massive scale. In the midst of the catastrophic situation of 1990s Nigeria, moreover, it was a relief and a pleasure to watch something being born.
In those early days as I went around doing research, often in the excellent company of Onookome Okome, I had no idea of what Nollywood would turn into. I liked the people I was meeting, the work was absorbing, and I let myself be absorbed. Nollywood grew and grew, and I found I’d bet on a winner. As Nollywood expanded, so did the number of academics and journalists paying attention to it. Wealth is in people, as Africans like to say. I’ve tried to be a good citizen of this community, which is dispersed across many countries and disciplines. The web is a marvelous instrument for holding us together and inviting others in, and I hope this website, which gives an overview of the work I’ve done and makes much of it available as pdfs, will be found useful.