Film And National Development By Babatunde Lawal

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Film is an effective means of mass communication, It is the link between other forms of literature (Prose, Poetry, Drama).  Films play a vital role in the development of any group of people, Society, Ethnicity, race or nation.The film industry in Nigeria has done a lot of work to aid national development and at the same time caused severe backwardness.

Highlighting a few aeffects of the film industry on National development using different markers, what readily comes to mind is Culture.  As they say, “Culture is the way of life” Film has played a major role in the preservation of our culture. Many cultural ideologies and heritage could have eroded away but thanks to film they are still here and we still know about them. (well, this might be fast becoming untrue with modern films that hardly serve as historic or cultural documents). Films should help preserve our past so we can illuminate our future. Despite the fact that films help in preserving our culture, many films released today have done harm to its portrayal of our cultural background.

Looking at the type of films produced and classified as “Asaba films” where many cultural misrepresentation in costume and general characterization.  Some films portray our culture as backwards, loosing evidence of strong thematic, socio-religious structures in the mode of life evident before the coming of the white man. Our languages in culture have been heavily downplayed. English has taken most part of television and certain platforms like IrokoTv, IbakaTv and and distribution channels like cinemas segregate and create a barrier to language films on their platforms.

The industry has contributed greatly to the economic development of the nation. In a 2017 screening of Kunle Afolayan’s C.E.O at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva, Ambassador Audu Kadiri, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) stated that Nollywood is fast becoming a very powerful tool for ‘soft’ diplomacy for Nigeria. The Ambassador also stated the role of Nollywood in the employment of a large number of creative workers in the downstream sector of distribution and marketing, contributing about 1.4 percent to Nigeria’s GDP also providing value content to support other copyright inter-dependent sectors as such broadcasting, telecommunications and advertising.

Furthermore, the film industry is a big employer of labour in any economy. Film like any other aspect of the arts is a cooking pot of all the arts s it combines-painting, costumes, writing; prose, drama, poetry, short story, acting, directing, producing, photography, tourism and so on into one big production. Film is a big art form that requires the involvement and participation of many people who are often employed as actors, costumiers, cameramen, producers, singers and aesthetic workers.

More so, film plays an important role in education and human resources development. Audio visual aids are now a significant element in teaching and knowledge dissemination.  Furthermore, documentary film helps to enlighten the public about events and phenomenon in the environment.

“Having become the second largest film industry in the world, most viewers are of the opinion that Nollywood movies would have risen beyond a certain level of immorality and barbarism that could be considered averagely above board. They are daily descending into immorality that is polluting the mind of young audience who are the major viewers”. – Ruth Chuji*

Conclusively, we can say the films industry has aided the development of Nigeria and as well done some harm to it, using ratio 70:30


Lawal Babatunde is a student of LASU’s Theatre Arts and Music Department. An avid lover of the arts. he is an aspiring Director, Critic, cinematographer and Filmmaker. A voracious reader.


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