Until Nigerians develop a good cinema culture, people will continue to form their opinions of Nollywood based mainly on what we have termed ‘Asaba movies.’
You must have heard the term “Asaba movies or old Nollywood” before. Recently a colleague described the ‘Asaba movies' as those ‘low budget’ movies shot in the East, and churned out weekly.
You also must have heard the term “new or cinema Nollywood movies,” which are supposedly movies produced for the cinema or straight to the DVD, and features a particular group of ‘new Nollywood actors.”
Are there differences between these two ‘worlds?’ – Yes, I’m one of those who believe that they are two different worlds on their own, with different fan base.
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Check out what I think differentiates the ‘Asaba movies’ from the ‘New Nollywood movies.’
One major difference between the ‘Asaba’ and ‘New Nollywood’ movies is the art. Most cinema movies have the perfect blending of cinematic style, technical advance, beauty, and storytelling.
More time, human resource, fund and more is put into movies going to the cinema.
They possess good plots, great writing, and great acting, which some ‘Asaba’ movies also possess, but the difference here is that the later fails to stand the test of time.
They get forgotten almost immediately after they are seen. I can make a list of movies released in cinemas this year, but where do I start from if I decide to focus on our ‘Asaba’ movies?
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Unfortunately, Nigerians are not ready for the cinema era, which is why Asaba movies and actors will keep being recognized by majority of Nigerians as the real Nollywood actors and movies.
Most Nigerians patronize Asaba movies and actors more than the other. While the absence of cinemas make it impossible for some people to visit the cinema, most Nigerians are yet to cultivate the cinema culture.
Lots of Genevieve Nnaji’s fans are excited about her new movie “Road to Yesterday,” but a greater percentage of them are also patiently waiting to buy the movie for N200 while in traffic.
Imagine if all her fans went out to support her movie by watching it in the cinema or purchasing an original DVD copy of movie upon its release? Unfortunately, we are just not ready for that ‘growth.”
But then patronizing the 'Asaba' movies more than cinema movies doesn't mean them richer than actors in the cinematic world (We guess that's a tale for the actors.)
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Actors on both sides are talented. I have seen several movies by the ‘new Nollywood’ actors with performances not worth mentioning. I have also seen Asaba movies with amazing and applaudable acting, and vice versa. So, being talented has nothing to do with the side you are on, it’s an individual thing.
A movie featuring Rachel Okonkwo will do better in the mass market than a movie featuring Femi Jacobs, Adesua Etomi, OC Ukeje, Lala Akindoju among other actors.
Most Nigerians are more familiar with the movie “Nkoli Nwa Nsukka,” than “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”
Unlike the ‘Cinema’ movies, these ‘Asaba’ movies and actors are accessible to the viewers who can purchase their movies at every movie shop.
The cinema movies and actors get nominated for Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards, AMAA, GIAMA, while the ‘Asaba movies’ get nominated for awards, whose winners list don’t get to make it to the online world.
A Nigerian actress and producer recently said that what we term ‘Asaba movies’ is the real Nollywood.
While I may not totally know her point of view, I believe that majority of Nigerians consider these movies we term ‘Asaba movies’ as the real ‘Nollywood.’ And most opinions people have of the industry are formed based on these mass movies.
Nigerians are not interested in going to cinema to see a Nollywood movie. Even our actors have bad movie culture. You meet an actor and he or she says “I don’t watch movies,” then I ask myself, “if you don’t see your movies, why should I?”
Until we develop a good cinema culture, people will continue to form their opinions of Nollywood based mainly on what we have termed ‘Asaba movies.’