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This story was published before Summer 2021, when we launched our new digital experience.

The New Nollywood

Nigeria's film capital is on the rise.

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Score one for camp: In April Netflix began streaming hits out of Nigeria’s Nollywood, the world’s third largest film industry and, until recently, an unapologetic purveyor of cheap melodrama. That was the Old Nollywood. The New Nollywood—exemplified by the critically acclaimed 
$9 million Half of a Yellow Sun, based on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel—is betting that bigger budgets and greater attention to craft, financed by deals like the one with Netflix, will win over global viewers. But its directors also know the industry’s defiantly B-movie vibe is here to stay. Lauded director Obi Emelonye just about promises as much in The Messenger when the portrait of a dead man locks eyes with the hero and winks; he might as well be looking at Old Nollywood’s fans, letting them know he hasn’t forgotten his roots.


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