I have to say that I was really intrigued by the visiting professors the other day, especially because their talks gave me a much wider view of exactly what a person with an English degree can do after they complete their schooling. I particularly enjoyed the mention of Nigerian film being the second largest film industry in the world. Wow. That’s just awesome. I had absolutely no idea that the entertainment industry there was so important, much less completely independent from the government. It also interested me that the film industry is massive despite the fact that it’s so low budget, which I suppose isn’t that odd given that the Nigerian economy has been in decline since the oil boom. This shows a profound interest in the arts that, quite frankly, really excites me, even if the majority of the films are melodramas. Soap operas aren’t my preferred choice of entertainment, but, as stated, they’re better than cheaply made action films.
I have to wonder, though, what would happen if Nigeria were given more money to be used toward the production of films? Would they take advantage of this new funding and produce films about history? War? Politics? It is a sad fact that cash truly is king, and limits the dreams of the artist (in this case the filmmaker). What would Nigerian directors do if they could shoot longer, more expensive pieces, ones not dictated by what could be produced in a single week of filming? Considering some Hollywood films take over a year to film (Inception, Lord of the Rings, anything with a big budget), I think Nigerian directors bred upon low funding and limited shooting schedules could produce astonishing works of art. That, or like any filming industry, the results would be mixed. Some auteurs would rise to the top, some directors would be workmanlike, and others would be terrible. Still, I believe the idea of more funding should be considered.