5 items from 2009
HNR's Michael Stevens reporting from Toronto... The National Film Board of Canada Mediatheque wraps up its 70th anniversary summer program with the feature docs Nollywood Babylon and Waterlife, plus a night of short films, animation workshops, day camps and free access to 5,000 Nfb titles through digital viewing stations. The Nfb Mediatheque is located at 150 John Street in Toronto. Nollywood Babylon will have its Toronto theatrical premiere, August 11, 12 & 13 at 7 pm, with co-director Samir "Discordia" Mallal in attendance for a Q&A, August 11. "...Nigeria's film industry, "Nollywood" is the third largest in the world, an unstoppable force that is now bursting beyond the borders of Africa. Unfazed by low budgets, enterprising filmmakers create a brash, inventive and wildly popular form of 'B-movie'. An official selection at this year's Sundance Film Festival, 'Nollywood Babylon' delivers an electric vision of Lagos, Africa.s leading metropolis, and a revealing »
Hooray for Nollywood! That's the thriving film industry in Nigeria, which churns out 2,500 movies a year, most of them made for less than $10,000 each. That makes Nigeria's movie biz the third largest in the world, behind Hollywood and Bollywood.
With titles such as "Highway to the Grave," "Divine Twins" and "Stronger Than Pain," the movies are strictly for video sales, since the only three functioning movie houses in the capital Lagos, population 14 million, don't project local fare.
After Hollywood and Bollywood there's... Nollywood? Nigeria's movie industry is, no kidding, the third largest in the world. Funded by electronics merchants and sold on DVD in rag-tag markets in Lagos among other covetable locations, the country's 2,500 annual productions are generally made for less than $10,000 apiece.
Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal's new documentary, Nollywood Babylon, takes a look at the "pop-pop-pop" style of filmmaking that has been made Nollywood the fastest-growing film industry since it sprung up in the early 90's.
Cheaper than Telenova and just as much an acquired taste, Nollywood probably won't be taking the Us by storm anytime soon. But Nollywood Babylon serves up a few bona fide curiosities, including the incredibly popular pint-size acting duo Aki and Pawpaw (Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Kenneth Iheme). Our first thought too: very YouTube-able. Check them out in this list of our favorite gonzo Nollywood trailers: »
For a market that is supposed to be flat, there are a number of U.S. film acquisitions made in the month of March, not to mention February. If there's no money, are these companies acquiring them for no mgs? The films are also holding up surprisingly well in theaters which bodes well for future sales of independent films into the coming year. Rumblings from venture capital waiting in the wings to begin investing again are also heard. I predict 2010 will be the year of the turnaround when the buying cycle begins again. Meanwhile there are some bargains to be had. Also notable are the key festivals where these films have all shown.
Amreeka was acquired by National Geographic and will open New Directors/ New Films. It showed as a work in progress at the Dubai Film Festival and went from there to its world premiere at Sundance. William Morris Independent brokered the deal on behalf of E1 Entertainment which has acquired Charlotte Mickie's and Robert Lantos' Maximum as well as U.K. distribtution company Contender all of which are very notable moves in the industry.
Afghan Star which showed at IDFA went to Zeitgeist for U.S. It was the Sundance World Doc winner of both Best Director and Audience Awards. Earlier this month they acquired Three Monkeys from the bankrupt New Yorker whose auction earlier this month found no takers. So its catalog still resides with its creditor Technicolor.
Paranoids went to Oscilloscope from Visit Films for North America just before its SXSW premiere. The Toronto and Berlin film of Fortissimo, Unmistaken Child, went earlier to Oscilloscope for North America. Earlier in the month Oscilloscope acquired Burma VJ and The Garden.
B-Side acquired its first film for U.S., RiP: A Remix Manifesto before its SXSW screening. Disinformation will release it on DVD. In Canada Eye Steele and National Film Board of Canada will partner with B-Side on its release there.
Another new and innovative U.S. distribution configuration of Variance Films, Elementary Films and Argyle Productons will will release the Hot Docs, Hamptons and Margaret Mead festival film Nursery University in April 2009 in New York.
The Cove which premiered in Sundance and was acquired for world sales by The Works went to Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions and Participant for U.S. The deal was made with William Morris Indendent and Submarine.
Film Movement acquired North American rights to Munyurangabo from Umedia after its festival screenings in Cannes' Un Certain Regard, Berlin, Toronto and New Directors/ New Films. It premiered at Slamdance.
While much of the indie film community has been focused on SXSW, everyone else kept busy making deals, programming festivals, and releasing trailers. Indie Roundup presents an overview of what's been happening during the past week.
Indies Online. Our friends at SnagFilms announced a deal to provide a portion of of their library to Hulu for online distribution. Best known for offering free clips and TV episodes, Hulu is launching a new documentary film section. The SnagFilms library now features 600 docs available for free streaming. Both services remain Us only, which I know is frustrating for our readers in Canada and the rest of the world. However, both services intend to expand to international streaming, which can't come soon enough to really expand the online audience for docs.
- Peter Martin
5 items from 2009
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