The Nigerian movie industry started over fifty years ago with the likes of Latola films (1962) and Calpeny Nigeria ltd anchoring the escapade.
Historically, Latola films was the first and earliest film production company in Nigeria, started movie production as far back as 1962.
Calpeny nigeria ltd spearheaded the production of the first Nigerian film – Kongi’s harvest, based on a play written by Wole Sonyika.
As far back as 1980 most movies produced in Nigeria were either short plays or culled from a book, the major problem was resources and adequate equipment. Despite all of that the Nigerian film industry thrived… I watched it as it scurried away from one constraint to another until the birth of Nollywood – the umbrella body covering everything movie, from production to distribution in Nigeria.
The name Nollywood was coined to resemble the big shots in the industry – Bollywood and Hollywood which is Indian film industry and that of american respectively.
Men like Kenneth Okonkwo, Kanayo O. Kanayo and Bob-Manuel Odogwu are the Nigerian version of die hard actors, they made my first impression of what a film looks like, they starred alongside other selected Igbo casts in the earliest of nigerian home video – living in bondage, produced by Kenneth Nebue when films were shot with VHS cameras and edited in television studios using a couple of (gone extinct) VCR machines.
Several others that participated in the making of Nollywood (behind the scene) includes Ola Balogun, Eddie Ugbomah, late Hubert Ogunde, Adeyemi Afolayan a.K.A Ade love (Kunle Afolayan’s father), Ladi Ladebo, Moses Adejumo, Adebayo salami and Afolabi Adesanya
These men “the Yoruba travelling theater groups” took their works beyond the stage and delved into movie production using the celluloid format as far back as 1970, they were actually the first Nigerian film makers, although their several movies actually never made the big bang!
These great men made movies like kongi’s harvest in 1971, bull frog in the sun in 1974, Bisi daughter of the river in 1977, Jaiyesimi in 1980, cry freedom in 1981 and many other great movies in the seventies and eighties. The early nineties of course brought living in bondage, circle of doom and glamour girls; all of this Nigerian movies were funded and produced by Kenneth Nnebue – now addressed as evangelist Kenneth Nnebue.
The Nollywood that we know today had its expansion and influx of smart young actors and actresses in the early part of the twentieth millennium, great actors and actresses were shot into limelight, the likes of Genevieve Nnaji, Richard Mofe Damijo, and Stella Damascus saw an opportunity in role interpretations and took it.
Before then were even men like nkem owoh whose comic movies has crossed the borders of the african continent to almost all parts of the world. The likes of Pete Edochie, Enebeli Elebeuwa, Peter Bunor, Alex Usifo, Klint da drunk, Saint Obi, Olu Jacobs, as well as Liz Benson would never be counted out of the – history book – of Nollywood.