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Nigeria Comes To Paris For First Ever Nollywood Week

posted 31 May 2013, 07:54 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 31 May 2013, 07:55 ]

After the highs and lows of the Cannes film festival, France welcomes its first ever Nollywood Week celebrating Nigerian cinema.

PARISFRANCE (MAY 31, 2013) (REUTERS) - The silver screen was set to turn green and white as Nigerian cinema hitParis for the first ever Nollywood Week.

Actors, directors, distributors and producers gathered for talks on the booming industry in the French capital's Arlequin cinema on Friday (May 31).

Seven films from across a range of genres released between 2010 and 2013 will compete for a prize voted for by the viewing public, to be awarded on Sunday.

Director Tunde Kelani, whose film "Maami" will be screened as part of the festival, said the human element of Nollywood touched Africans around the world.

"I think it is necessarily a cinema of the people, you know, by the people. And Nollywood has been able to find the pulse of the people and retain the attention of African people even outside of Nigeria, you know, because it made a connection with the very essence of Africans, both in Africa and in (the) diaspora," he said.

Kelani added that accessibility of equipment had helped the scene thrive.

"What has happened to make Nollywood so successful is a number of factors. Part of the factors has to do with the lack of infrastructure and some bits of underdevelopment. And not only that, a democratisation of the means of production, because this is the only time in history where people have access, you know, to the technology of giving themselves a voice," Kelani told Reuters Television.

Nollywood Week estimates that the average Nigerian film costs between 7,000 and 12,000 euros to make.

The festival's executive director Serge Noukoue said that with the industry flourishing, it was time for it to reach discerning French cinema fans.

"Nollywood is just improving every day, and now we have really reached a certain level, a certain standard of quality. You know, the Nigerian films that we are showing here are showing in the cinema theatres in Nigeria, so it's no longer a straight-to-DVD industry. And so what we are doing is just, we are showing this evolution of Nollywood. We are just sharing it with the Parisian audience," Noukoue said.

Festival organisers say films contribute 11% of Nigeria's non-oil exports and are the country's largest employer after agriculture.