Netflix, Nollywood’s savior, Nigerian movie?

The first Nigerian series to be produced with streaming giant Netflix will be released on May 5, 2022. Blood Sisters is a thriller that features Sarah and Kemi, two friends who are forced to flee after one kills the other’s violent husband. The series is co-produced with the Nigerian studio Ebony Life and is the result of Netflix’s new strategy to establish itself on the continent. And Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry and its more than 1,500 films produced each year, seemed to be the perfect playground.

On one hand, the second most productive cinema in the world behind Bollywood. On the other hand, a strong streaming giant with over 220 million subscribers worldwide. To many, it seemed doomed that Netflix and Nollywood would go hand in hand. Especially to overcome the difficulties faced by Nigerian film, especially with regard to the distribution of films.

Blood Sisters co-director Kenneth Gyang knows these problems by heart and he’s sure Netflix could fix some of them: “I remember when I made my first movie, called Confusion Na Wa. It was an international hit: it even won best movie at the Africa Movie Academy Award. But in Nigeria, the distributors did not want it. They do not want movies that are too provocative. Conversely, Netflix allowed us, the director, to distribute our movies.

Nigerian film critic Precious Nwogu has long believed that the streaming giant would be “Nollywood’s savior” and that the platform would give free rein to lesser known projects. Since then, she has been disillusioned.

In question, the co-production contracts with major Nigerian studios, such as Ebony Life, the studio behind Blood Sisters: “It’s like giving visibility to films that already have it. Many other lesser-known directors are not contacted by Netflix. “

Another problem: according to media The Verge, Netflix only pays $ 10,000 to $ 90,000 for African productions. Very far from the $ 500 million promised to South Korea for its films.

The series deals with themes that many people experience in their lives, it evokes intra-family relationships, physical violence. She talks about love and the issue of commitment. What I also really like about this fiction is that it shows the socio-economic differences in Africa. It shows very rich people as well as very poor people, two sides of the same reality.

Mo Abudu, the director of the Nigerian production studio Ebony Life, which produces the series

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