What's Lollywood and Nollywood?

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Popular Nigerian film from 2013 (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

First there was Hollywood. In the 1940s came Bollywood, the prolific Bombay film industry. But what about their lesser-known cousins Nollywood and Lollywood?

“Nollywood” refers to the Nigerian film industry. Like Bollywood, Nigeria pumps out several films, much more than Hollywood but just shy of Bombay’s huge output. It has exploded in the last decade, generating $286 million into the Nigerian economy. According to the website for the documentary This Is Nollywood, “Nollywood movies are made on shoe-string budgets of time and money. An average production takes just 10 days and costs approximately $15,000.” An average American feature film can easily have a few million dollars for a budget and the production would take an average of 8-10 weeks. An American film crew would find anything less than 8 weeks for production time on a feature film to be quite aggressive.

Top Nigerian films from 2013 include The MeetingFinding Mercyand Murder at Prime Suites.

Below is a trailer from another 2007 documentary on the Nigerian film industry, Welcome To Nollywood.

“Lollywood” is the next door neighbor of Bollywood: the Pakistani film industry, centered in Lahore. It started way back when Bollywood was beginning, at the end of the 1920’s, produced silent films, and endured after the partition of 1947. The Pakistani film industry experienced a high during the 60’s and 70’s. I did a feature on Lollywood soundtrack music on PRI’S  the World a while ago. The music is absolutely wonderful and will bring you joy. Unfortunately in the 80’s, a military dictatorship by Mohammad Zia ul-Haq brought conservative censorship on films that contained heavy subjects. Thus, Lollywood went into major decline. In 2006, President Pervez Musharraf, eased up the restrictions for film which has been opening up new opportunities for film. In 2012, Saving Face –a documentary about Pakistan’s acid attacks–by filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy won Pakistan’s first Oscar. Recently, there was a feature on NPR’s Weekend Edition about how a Lahore-born millionaire named Izzat Majeed has financed the revival of Lollywood music from films he fondly remembers during the industry’s heyday.

Here is an audio clip of a crazy, space age song from the Lollywood soundtrack compilation I featured on PRI, The Sound Of Wonder!