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Nollywood set new highs in 2023: here are four of my favourite films of the year

Nollywood set new highs in 2023: here are four of my favourite films of the year

THE Nigerian film industry, popularly known as Nollywood, was once seen as a mass producer of poor-quality “home videos”. It’s now become known for increasingly slick films that can attract big budgets and compete at film festivals across the world. EZINNE EZEPUE, Lecturer, University of Nigeria As a critic, scholar and lecturer in Nigerian film, I regard 2023 as another impressive year for the quality of Nollywood output. I saw a number of great films both at film festivals and on subscription video platforms, particularly Netflix and Amazon Prime. I enjoyed the diversity in themes and the “un-Nollywood-like” experience each…
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The Black Book is a gritty new thriller that raises the bar for Nollywood

The Black Book is a gritty new thriller that raises the bar for Nollywood

NIGERIAN thriller The Black Book has been in the headlines for reportedly topping global figures at streaming service Netflix, with 5.6 million viewers in its first two days. Does it live up to the hype? In my view, as a critic, scholar and teacher of Nigerian film and storytelling, the short answer is yes. Directed and co-written by newcomer Editi Effiong, The Black Book emerges as a significant film that establishes a new milestone for Nollywood, the ever-evolving Nigerian film industry. EZINNE EZEPUE, Lecturer, University of Nigeria It achieves this by combining several key factors: high production values, a desire…
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Netflix to end Kenyan free access plan after two years

Netflix to end Kenyan free access plan after two years

NETFLIX said it is ending its free mobile plan in Kenya, which has allowed users to access a quarter of its shows and movies without paying over the past two years. It did not say how many subscribers it had added as a result of the scheme, designed to help recruit new paying users. "We definitely learnt a lot from the test," a Netflix spokesperson told Reuters, without giving details. "We are going to continue to offer a variety of other plans." Netflix is rolling out an advertisement-supported plan, offering subscribers a monthly plan at 4.99 pounds ($6.07), but the spokesperson…
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From notebooks to Netflix: Azzez Korede, the Nigerian filmmaker reimagining African folktales

From notebooks to Netflix: Azzez Korede, the Nigerian filmmaker reimagining African folktales

"I started writing fiction stories at the age of ten. And even though I didn't continue, it was enough to help me understand I loved storytelling," says Azzez Korede, whose evocative short film, "Halima's Choice," launched on Netflix in March, after earning her a well-deserved place among the six victorious filmmakers of the groundbreaking 'African Folktales, Reimagined' competition. Despite thwarted ambitions to study theatre arts at university and a subsequent career in mass communication, Korede never gave up on her early storytelling ambitions, which began with stories penned in a personal notebook. And her subsequent career, it turned out, provided…
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What Harry and Meghan said in final Netflix episodes

What Harry and Meghan said in final Netflix episodes

NETFLIX released the final three episodes of a documentary series from Britain's Prince Harry and his wife Meghan on Thursday, setting out their battles with the media and why they stepped down as working members of Britain's royal family. Below are quotes and details from the series: HARRY ON TIES WITH HIS FAMILY On a family meeting to discuss Harry's royal departure: "It was terrifying to have my brother scream and shout at me, and my father say things that just simply weren't true, and my grandmother quietly sit there and sort of take it all in." On the royal household and…
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Disney, Netflix take notice of the talent driving an African animation dawn

Disney, Netflix take notice of the talent driving an African animation dawn

SETH ONYANGO, BIRD GLOBAL demand for content is fuelling a surge in animation production across Africa as creatives tap into a market worth hundreds of billions of dollars. In 2018, according to Statista estimates, the global animation market was worth 259 billion US dollars and was projected to top 270 billion by 2020. For years, African animation has been limited to advertising, with only a few success stories - like "Bino and Fino", from Nigerian animator Adamu Waziri - finding their way onto TV screens and inflight entertainment. That is now changing fast as a growing interest in Black and…
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15 million African viewers to stream movies online

15 million African viewers to stream movies online

SETH ONYANGO, BIRD THE number of streaming subscribers in Africa is expected to jump nearly 200 per cent to 15 million by 2026, according to new estimates, as the pandemic forces Africans to look for entertainment at home. Movie streaming services are projected to rack up millions of subscribers in Africa as the raging COVID-19 pandemic changes the entertainment habits of most Africans. New estimates show subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) on the continent will jump 194.72 per cent to 15.06 million in 2026, up from 5.11 million expected in 2021. According to Digital TV Research, the threefold increase indicates the nascent market…
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Vietnam orders Netflix to remove Australian spy show over South China Sea map

Vietnam orders Netflix to remove Australian spy show over South China Sea map

JAMES PEARSON NETFLIX Inc has removed the Australian spy drama "Pine Gap" from its services in Vietnam after a complaint from broadcast authorities in the Southeast Asian country about the appearance of a map that depicts Chinese claims in the South China Sea. The map, which briefly features on the screens of a control room at a spy base in two episodes of the six-part show, depicts China's unilaterally declared "nine-dash line" and is displayed within the context of maritime claims in the region. "Netflix's violations angered and hurt the feelings of the entire people of Vietnam," the Authority of…
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South Africa’s romcom revolution and how it reimagines Joburg

South Africa’s romcom revolution and how it reimagines Joburg

NETFLIX went live in South Africa on 6 January 2016. The arrival of the subscription-based content streaming service was a game-changer for the country’s film and television industry, as it had been for other countries. PIER PAOLO FRASSINELLI, Professor, Communication and Media Studies, University of Johannesburg At about the same time – in 2015 and 2016 – there was another turning point for South Africa’s film industry: the arrival of a new, commercially successful genre, the black romantic comedy. For the first time, the country’s black filmmakers were able to make an impact at the box office – and go…
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Golden Globes: All the winners

Golden Globes: All the winners

JILL SERJEANT THE king won big at the Golden Globes and his queen made an emotional and powerful speech. The late Chadwick Boseman, known for his role as the "King of Wakanda", was today crowned Best Actor in a motion picture drama at the 78th annual Golden Globes for his role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman died in August last year after a battle with cancer. His wife, Taylor Simone, accepted the award on his behalf. Holding back tears, she said: "He would thank God. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices. He would say…
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