Film Still from Nollywood Babylon

The Toby

(2008, dirs. S. Mallal & B. Addelman, 74 mins., Canada)

Nigeria’s home-movie industry, Nollywood, is the third largest in the world. This documentary captures the explosive energy, economic power, and cultural influence of the industry. The film drops viewers into the chaos of metropolitan Lagos’ Idumota market, where, among the bustling stalls, films are sold and unlikely stars are born. Unfazed by low budgets, and sometimes propelled by religious agendas, enterprising filmmakers create brash B-movies where voodoo and Christian messages overlay with urban drama, echoing the collision of mysticism and modern culture that Nigerians experience every day. From director Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen, at work on his 157th feature (“The business of filmmaking is about making money and making statements,” Lancelot proclaims), to producer Helen Ukpabio, also head of a large gospel church, the players in Nollywood Babylon portray a complex and populist movie machine. Nollywood Babylon was an official selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.

Film shown in connection with Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria. Film presented by the IUPUI Committee on African and African-American Studies and IMA with additional support from Indy Film Fest. Film shown in DVD.

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