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When Netflix Turns to African Productions

19.10.2018
The movie industry in Africa has evolved over the years in terms of maturity, quality and even exposure. The various renowned film industries such as Nollywood (Nigeria), Gallywood (Ghana) and Collywood (Cameroon) have seen their productions gone worldwide and even appreciated by media services providers such as Netflix. A recent case in time is the acquisition of the Nigerian production Lionheart, directed by veteran actress Genevieve Nnaji, by the leading American internet entertainment service.

When it comes to film production in Africa, the Nigerian film industry otherwise known as Nollywood, has created a remarkable role with more quality works produced each year. Initially known for its model of low-budget high-volume productions, Nollywood became the world’s second biggest movie industry by volume. But in recent years, Nollywood has started placing more emphasis on quality over quantity. These turn of events have been rewarded with local and international box office success. The rise of this African film industry to this level has been further promoted by one of the industry’s best, veteran actress turned director Genevieve Nnaji. The actress recently released the official trailer for her upcoming movie, “Lionheart.” The movie’s trailer was released by Paris-based movie marketing firm, MPM Premium, on August 24, 2018. The movie has drawn the attention of global streaming giant, Netflix.

What is Netflix?

Netflix is an American media services provider, with headquarters in Los Gatos, California. It was founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California. The company’s primary business is its subscription-based streaming media service, which offers online streaming of a collection of films and television programs including those produced in-house. The leading American internet entertainment service in September acquired worldwide rights to Lionheart, which means the film gets to be distributed to millions of viewers across the globe. It should be noted that this is its first original film from Nigeria. Netflix has previously licensed Nollywood movies including romantic comedy The Wedding Party as well as crime thriller October 1, but only after both had been screened in local cinemas. Sometime in June this year, Netflix announced that it was planning to start acquiring original content from Africa. A new Netflix job posting indicated that the popular streaming service was looking to acquire more content from the Middle East, Turkey and Africa. The company has had some success in licensing African shows occasionally to date but this role will require “a deep knowledge of the production landscape. It has to master both the creators and the distributors and the ability to identify appealing series and films early in the life cycle.” Netflix’s success across the world has been motivated in part by its focus on building local content as well as licensing popular Hollywood fare for markets around the world.

‘Lionheart’

Lionheart is an original Nigerian movie, directed by veteran actress Genevieve Nnaji.  The movie revolves around a young woman, Adaeze Obiagu (played by Genevieve Nnaji), who is faced with the responsibility of running her sick father’s business under the overpowering supervision of an intensely crude and eccentric uncle. It stars Nollywood big shots including Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie, Kanayo O. Kanayo and Onyeka Onwenu.  The film was screened fully on September 8, 2018 at the Toronto International Film festival alongside other African productions such as Sew the winter to my Skin, aKasha, Fig Tree, Rafiki, Look at Me, The Ambassador’s Wife. Genevieve co-wrote the screenplay together with Ishaya Bako, Emil Garuba, Chinny Onwugbenu and C.J. Obasi. Speaking to CNN’s Richard Quest a few days after the screening of the film, Nnaji explained that the film provided an environment where she could showcase the things that made her proud of her culture, talents and values. She also noted that one factor that most African films are simply failing to pay attention to is quality.

It can therefore be concluded that Netflix is gradually turning to African productions as a result of the quality they are now including in their movies.

 

Article From the Editorial of AFRIC

Sources : qz.com/1384217/

www.filmcontact.com/news/nigeria/netflix-starting-…e-industry-seriously

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