A Nollywood veteran actor and filmmaker, Emeka Ossai, has said most of his colleagues are off-screen because movies produced by the so-called “New Nollywood actors” lacked originality.
Ossai said this when members of the Creative Industry Group (CIG) visited the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lagos Office, and added that a chunk of the movies lacked focus.
Ossai said Nollywood was pulled out of the woods by the efforts of the veterans and ensured it remained afloat.
“The veterans started the path called: Nollywood some years back and were able to colonize Africa and the diaspora to love our contents and love Nigeria.
“To sustain Nollywood, the kind of story we tell should be original and indigenous. Some people have infiltrated the industry with the colonial business mentality; they want to degrade our culture by bringing in some content outside our cultural identity. People acting and mimicking the whites when they are blacks by speaking through their nostrils and changing the trajectory from contemporary Africa stories should rethink,” he said.
Ossai argued that some unwritten values in Nollywood had helped it grow and must be protected.
“Some producers of movies have created “New Nollywood” by bringing in untrained artistes. In our own time, we were trained either formally or informally.
“We were trained in the Nollywood through apprenticeship or actual practice overtime before becoming a frontrunner in the business.
“Some artists can play the role of a “Waka Pass” for ten years before getting a lead role. A fresher cannot muscle an old hand in the role within a short time,” he said.
Ossai reiterated that the Nollywood industry needed the inputs of the veterans who would provide the leadership for the new entrants to flourish.
He said some of the new films produced by young artistes that go to the cinema should have the inputs of the old hands for it to be recognised.
“A film called “Lion Heart” by Genevieve Nnaji is essentially an old Nollywood film upgraded to the world standard. The result was great because it attracted great endorsements worth millions of dollars.
“The younger ones cannot go to the cinemas without the inputs of the older ones and think it will succeed. No, it might fail. The old hands will keep the torch running, while the new entrants will complement, actors that rose to the top started humbly.
“We have many examples of them like Omotola Jalade. She joined the industry in secondary school and got a role, probably more than a decade after. So, it will be difficult for a fresher to compete or play a role with such a veteran,” Ossai said.
Ossai, who studied Food Technology at the University of Agriculture, Ogun State, won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 2008 AMAAs.
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