I previously shared an interview with Agatha Ukata, a professor at the American University of Nigeria, who has written significantly on the topic of gender and Nollywood (Nigeria’s film industry), and who completed her PhD thesis titled “The Images(s) of Women in Nigerian (Nollywood) Videos.” Ukata’s dissertation examines female representation in Nigerian cinema.
In her own words: “What informed my interest in the study was borne on the fact that the depiction of women in one of the first Nollywood videos that I watched which was ‘Glamour Girls,’ typified women in very outrageous ways that tried to feed on the stereotypes of women in Nigeria and by extension African societies. It seemed as though women have nothing good to contribute to the society other than destroying moral values, which I strongly have a problem with. With such a portrayal I began to interrogate the rationale behind such representations of women […] The study among other issues, interrogated the following: How women are represented in Nigerian home videos; What the implication of such representations are; How representations affect the larger society of Nigeria and beyond; The extents to which visual aesthetics and cultural codes are used in the films of study to either portray women in negative or positive angles.”
Now, just to be clear, when she talks about Nollywood “videos,” she’s talking about the films themselves, not music videos.
A new documentary film will address the matters Ukata is studying, although looking at the problem from behind the camera specifically, chronicling the journeys of women directors in Nigeria.
From director Tope Oshin, the documentary, titled “Amaka’s Kin – The Women Of Nollywood” seeks to examine the careers of the very few women directors working in the very male-dominated Nigerian film industry – their struggles and their triumph, and the hurdles they had to jump to actually become directors of film. The film also celebrates the successful career of the most prominent Nigerian woman director of film, the late Amaka Igwe (hence the title of the film), who was pivotal to the growth and development of Nollywood and indeed an inspiration to “The Women of Nollywood.”
The film features the contributions of women Nollywood directors like Mildred Okwo, Omoni Oboli, Stephanie Linus, Michelle Bello, Pat Oghre, Imhobio Adeola, Osunkojo Jadesola, Osiberu Ema, Edosio Lowladee, Dolapo Adeleke, Belinda Yanga, Agedah Blessing, Effiom Egbe, and the director of the documentary, Tope Oshin, who is also its producer via her Tope Oshin Productions in partnership with Sunbow Productions Ltd.
I think this is a wonderful and timely idea for a documentary exposé; very necessary, and I’m looking forward to checking it out whenever it’s available Stateside. No ETA at this time, but you can follow the film’s progress via its Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/AmakasKin.
A first trailer has been released today, and is embedded below: