A brand new book that celebrates the landmark achievements and outstanding practitioners in the Nigerian film industry debuted in Lagos on Friday, February 10, 2023.
The book, titled ’30: Three Decades Of The New Nigerian Cinema – A Bystander’s Verdict’, is authored by celebrated journalist, film critic and former Commissioner for Tourism Arts & Culture in Lagos State, Mr. Steve Ayorinde.
Sold globally by Amazon in print (hardcopy and paperback), kindle, Smashwords and Lulu, the book is available in Nigeria on Okadabooks.
The book chronicles the close encounter of the author as a cub reporter, editor and columnist, editor-in-chief, member of jury and as commissioner. Ayorinde highlights 30 outstanding professionals and movies who, in his own opinion as a careful observer for years, deserve special highlight from the pool of many talented practitioners in the Nigerian film industry in the past three decades.
“That was the whole point of writing this book – to provide succinct and accurate information about films and cineastes, and to document them for posterity”, he told Netng.
“This book simply seeks to celebrate and document some of the outstanding films, directors, actors and landmark events, which have in the past 30 years or thereabout, defined the industry we now celebrate today; without forgetting other legendary names that played their parts but who are no more on planet earth”, reads the preface.
“This industry was built out of their sweat and labour of love. The choices contained in this publication are simply my preferences as someone who has encountered the industry and most of its key players closely for more than 30 years,” the statement quoted Ayorinde in the book’s Preface.
However, it wasn’t always a smooth journey to put the book together according to the author.
“The most difficult aspect was getting pictures of some of the ‘classic’ Nollywood films whose era predated social media. ‘Asewo To Re Mecca’ is an example. No single picture on the internet. Neither the director nor the producers could lay their hands on pictures or posters”, Ayorinde told Netng.
From classic oldies like Asewo To Re Mecca and Living In Bondage, both in 1992, to Ti Oluwa Nile, Glamour Girls, Mortal Inheritance and Igodo; up to Ije, Otober 1, Sadauki, Half of a Yellow Sun and the more recent King Of Boys, The Milkmaid and Amina, the book curates a rich spread of some of the films that redefined the new Nigerian cinema.
In his Foreword to the book, respected scholar and one of the first international academics to spread the gospel of Nollywood globally, Prof. Jonathan Haynes said Ayorinde’s journalistic work in the early and mid-1990s “were the first I found that gave some kind of handle on what this thing (Nollywood phenomenon) was and who the people were who were creating it.”
According to Prof. Haynes, in one way or another, the film industry has always been in his (Ayorinde) bailiwick. “You don’t see a masquerade standing in one place, as the old saying has it. Ayorinde has moved round but he’s never lost sight of the movies; and the fruits of decades of steady observation and judgement are here in this new book, which I’m pleased to be able to help welcome into the world.”
In her “Encore” (Last Word) submission in the book, the late President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP) and founder of African Movies Academy Awards (AMAA), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe said the book is a necessary tool to goad the industry towards the right path for the next 30 years.
” The Nollywood Industry needs to find its way back to its purest beginning, where collaboration drove the energy in the room. As the industry grew, unfortunately so did its extreme need to be an Industry filled with envy and competitive spirit.
” I believe that in the next 30 years, Nollywood would have built proper film studios which would help our quality control. For us to remain relevant as the content kings, I would love to see Nollywood look deeper inside, celebrating quality, listening and responding to criticism and pushing towards quality.”