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Jul 31, 2008

Nollywood movies are big hit in Belize

Story PictureIf you have heard about Hollywood and Bollywood, well now there’s Nollywood! It’s the buzz around town and it has to do with a different selection of movies; so get your coke and popcorn ready. Jose Sanchez has more.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting
From Africa to Belize; a new dialogue within the African Diaspora has surfaced. It is not the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade, but a new relationship among Belize, Nigeria and Ghana has been developed. It consists mainly of movies, stories of relationships, emotions captured on DVD all the way from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Just take a look on the shelves at video stores and you will see the proof that Belizeans are finding their roots in Africa.

Sussette Longsworth, Hollywood Fan
“I more like African movies because ih no violent, sometimes ih show me some stories weh really fit di cap sometimes. I love, I love it because ih noh violent, no guns, no lot of sex movies inna it; just some nicec movies mek children watch it.”

Jose Sanchez
“So you and your family watch it?”

Sussette Longsworth
“All di time, all di time, everybody, di whole family; my father, my mother, they enjoy it.”

The place where movies are made in the United States is called Hollywood. In India that place is called Bollywood, and in Nigeria and Ghana they call it Nollywood. For over a year now Teddy’s Music on King Street has been selling Nollywood films.

Joel Gutierrez, Teddy’s Music and Music
“People used to come ask we bout African movies and then we find out why dehn come look fi African movies instead of the usual American movies because the Nigerians they have a way of portraying the material; the way they act, the roles they take on in the movies really mek you feel the real value or the message they are trying to get across. Each one ah dehn have wah message. At the end ah di movie you learn something new every time. It might be maybe something you know already but it might be something that you can relate to apart from just something you know. The roles weh di Nigerians take on very good. Their good at what they do and I guess that’s what people like about it. Either it be drama, comedy; there’s a little for everyone there.”

The demand for Nollywood movies is so great that a video store on Central American Boulevard is selling exclusively nothing but the African brand. From Nigeria to Belize, Abu Cesesay tells their story.

Abu Bakall Cesesay, Believers Movies
“The Belizeans themselves. Like for any African here in Belize, the movies don’t move them more like the Belizean before because we are from Africa. We used to the movies.”

Jose Sanchez
“Why do you think so many people are flocking to these movies to watch them?”

Abu Bakall Cesesay
“Because majority of these movies are real stories from Africa. Like for example, we have one movie by the name of Final War, that reflects the war from Liberia. That is a real story from Liberia. Then plenty other stories from different, different, different movies tell you real, real stories about life presently.”

Cesesay explained how Nollywood’s two hundred and fifty million U.S. dollar a year movie industry makes its money.

Abu Bakall Cesesay
“Some stories take long. So they have to cut it short like part one, then continue part two. Then even in part two it will not end again and you have to extend to part three. There are some movies we have from part to even part four. For example, there is a movie which the Belizeans love too much by the name of Beyonce. Yeah, Beyonce, plenty Belizeans they go out for that movie the time the movie came new because that movie goes up to part four, Beyonce one, Beyonce two, The Return of Beyonce, The Return of Beyonce two. Plenty Belizean yet still they are going for that movie because that movie portray some nice, nice love story.”

Joel Gutierrez
“Oh yes they do have their favourites. I don’t know the artist them by name but especially the actress from Beyonce.”

Other than Beyonce there is another actor that Belizeans like to watch and that is Osita Iheme who is afflicted with dwarfism which allows him to play roles as a child.

Joel Gutierrez
“Oh yes the midgets, two midgets. They act good. They are old people but they’re very humorous and they are good at what they do.”

Movies aren’t the only way that Africa has resurged in Belizean society. Nigerians have held jobs as taxi drivers, doctors and educators. Steven Okeke thinks that it does a lot to improve our understanding of Africa and Africans.

Steven Okeke, Sculptor
“I think it is a good relief for me and a great break away for Belizeans because here you will find a movie with actors that look like you. What is more refreshing is to find out that these actors are capable of making world class movies against what has been propagated from western media that things from Africa, people from Africa are second hand. The whit is better, the black man from America is better, the black man from Africa is not so good. So Belizeans seeing this thing at least gives this feeling that oh my god, there is something great from the mother land. For me personally, it is quite relaxing and refreshing and fulfilling.”

Joel Gutierrez
“I didn’t used to know anything about Africans till I started watching the movies and now it is getting interesting and how these people from so far how they do such a good job at what they’re doing? Something good must come from there. It mek you wonder. I want to know more about them”

Jose Sanchez
“Excuse me you watch African movies. What do you like about them?”

Joshua Bermudez, Nollywood Fan
“Well, really they show yoh weh di happen out yah really right cause some ah dehn based pan true story like weh di happen. Like dehn have Blood Sister? Blood Sister dah weh di happen wid peoples inna di relationship, inna families. People really wa6tch dehn because dehn noh have lot ah violence and cussing like the American movies and other movies like the American one dehn. That’s why we really watch it.”

Steven Okeke
“You know what, instead of going on a vacation to New York and Paris, go to an African country because there you will meet people who are facing challenges more complex than you are facing here. If you can pick up some of their social perceptions, if you can pick up some of their adaptations to their challenges when you come to Belize it will be excellent. So their looking at those movies has been good for me.”

Jose Sanchez
“How often have you been buying movies?”

Sussette Longsworth
“Often, I buy movies when I have money. If I got wah ten dollars I wah spend pan it.”

Jose Sanchez
“So how much do you think spend a month on these movies?”

Sussette Longsworth
“I could seh about a hundred dollars already.”

With approximately two hundred films produced every month there won’t be a shortage of movies for those who are thirsty for Nollywood. However, the public is still waiting for the coming of Beli-Wood or Belizean made movies. Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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