Nollywood: What happened to Enugu?

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I stumbled on a clip from this classic gangster / campus cultism Nollywood movie, The Generals, starring Jim Iyke, Nonso Diobi, Uche Jumbo, and Mike Ezuruonye.

In the movie, Jim Iyke displays his exquisite 👌 bad boy character unleashing mayhem on timid village twins, Mike and Nonso characters. He feels one of them is coming too close to his baby, Uche’s character. Finally, one of the twins joins another cult group and rises to become a General, aka, Al Capone.

While watching the clip, I noticed that the movie was shot in the Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu.

I mean, all these stars packed Enugu, inside IMT to shoot the movie.

That meant a lot for the Coal City.

Long before classic Nollywood movies 🎬 like Aki and PawPaw, Long John, Ikuku, and so on; Enugu had been home to Oscar winning movies long before Nigeria got independence.

The 1949 Oscar 📸 winner “Daybreak in Udi”, was shot in Udi, Enugu. It also won a BAFTA award.

In 1957, the premier of Eastern Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe vacated his Lodge in Enugu to allow Sydney Poitier and his fellow caste and crew to shoot a part of “The Mark of the Hawk.”

However, in the mid 2000s, all that reputation of Enugu was blown away.

What I don’t know is the breeze that blew that away from the Coal City.

Was it Lagos?
Was it Asaba?

Lagos had its industry on while Enugu was doing also.
Asaba could be suspect, but productions won’t be moved down to Asaba for no reasons.

Today, major movie production centres remain the aforementioned and Kaduna.

The current government of Enugu State has to conduct detailed research to find out how Enugu lost out.

It’s not just for glory sake. The state is losing tax. The state lost tourist attraction.

Gathering of movie stars is the easiest PR for any state or country. Entertainment and media are the easiest strategy to exert soft powers.

That’s why you never see a Hollywood movie where Russia outwits or defeats the United States.

You’ll never see a Chinese movie where a foreigner is presented to be smarter or stronger or more morally upright.

Even though they’re all fictional.

That’s the reasons why States and countries fund movies and movie festivals.

Enugu can regain its place by investing in production of powerful but relevant stories.
The government can partner with the senior and younger generation producers to tell compelling stories. Lagos govt is doing this excellently.

There are younger people who have invested in the industry in Enugu, setting up production houses and film academies. For whatever reason, they keep the faith in the Coal City.

If the state refuses to reciprocate in keeping the faith in them, the same wind will blow them away. There are also senior actors keeping Enugu as home that I do bump into.

Right environment can lift Enugu again.