Ghanaian international film maker, Leila Djansi has been receiving a lot of stick from folks in Nollywood this week over her comments about Nollywood having negative connotations similar to Adolf Hitler. But some industry people have also agreed with comments and shown support for her comment saying it is a needed self-acessment for Nollywood. Adding his voice to the subject is Haitian Hollywood actor, Jimmy Jean-Louis, who is known for his many works in Nollywood, including his own documenatry titled ‘Jimmy Goes To Nollywood’.
Jimmy exclusively sent me his thoughts on the subject as follows:
I only know a few people as passionate about Nollywood and African cinema as Leila Djansi is. She introduced me to Nollywood and Ghanaian cinema and I have gone ahead to make movies with amazing filmmakers from that industry. Talk of the Cursed Ones with Nana Obiri yeboah, The CEO with my dear friend Kunle Afolayan among others and of course Sinking Sands, I even hosted the AMAA in 2012.
Jimmy Goes To Nollywood is a documentary that was made to help the industry. to introduce it to the world even more and address issues concerning an industry that has become one of the most lucrative industries in Africa today, employing many.
The hoopla surrounding Leila Djansi’s commentary in the video is genuine for an industry that many are passionate about but, it has been misunderstood. It is a misunderstanding between two pillars of the film industry. I have known Leila for a long time now and she is one person who will be honest with you, no matter what. Her criticism of the industry is from a place of genuine concern for its growth. This she has demonstrated many times by continuously employing Nollywood talent.
The name Nollywood does provoke conflicting discourse, and asked whether the new branch of filmmakers remain under that identity, Leila offered, that identity might cause the filmmakers to be judged unfairly by the standards of the world. Nollywood was not likened to ‘Hitler’, as unreleased portions of her interview will ascertain.
African cinema will be nothing without the strength and bravery of the pioneers of Nollywood.
I believe in African cinema, I believe in Nollywood, we have to continue to work together, that’s were the strength lies. I encourage you to see the entire documentary “Jimmy goes to Nollywood” on Netflix in USA/UK and on A+ (Canal +) in Africa.