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About this Project

Digital Nollywood

Digital Nollywood is a digital project established in 2018 by James Yeku. Interested in arresting the disappearance of Nollywood's material 'texts,' it builds on the enormous technological developments of recent decades to explore the ways in which we ‘do history’ and explore popular culture in Africa. Since digital technologies create new possibilities for the preservation and presentation of historical and archival materials. Digital Nollywood aims to be a scholarly digital project that enables the preservation and exhibition of Nollywood film posters. The historical documentation of these visual cultural forms adds to the huge scholarship on Nollywood, while also serving to preserve cultural records that may otherwise be lost forever.

Digital Nollywood is not merely aimed at the sheer collection of movie posters in a central online location online; it exists chiefly to foster a more positive disposition toward the process of historical documentation in a country in which the historical record and the past more generally are not accorded the importance they deserve. The digitization of Nollywood movie posters, especially from the era now commonly referred to as old Nollywood, will also enable initiate a series of activities that will involve Nollywood scholars in the study of film posters for further research.

The goal of Digital Nollywood is the reconstruction of the history of Nollywood through a significant aspect of its production that is rarely discussed in the scholarly community on Postcolonial film and cinema. As the most popular film industry in Africa and the African Diaspora, Nollywood has served as an important platform for telling the African story, highlighting how the cultural industry can embody the values, meanings and, identities of groups and communities. A digital archive of film posters on Nollywood enables more historical documentation and academic research on the film medium in Nigeria. Rather than the denigration of textual analyses, as some scholars of Nollywood imagine, the production of data about the circulation and consumption of film is not antithetical to close textual analyses. Rather, digital humanities methodologies can supplement the close readings of texts, even as we seek an understanding of the limitations of DH methods for preserving the history of the film medium. 

The aim is an open-source digital archive with a large collection of Nigerian movie posters that scholars and students can refer to when writing the history of film in Africa. Our primary mode of collecting film poster images is by photographing posters we find in public spaces and institutions such as the film censors board in Nigeria. Also, There are a number of websites that discuss Nollywood movies and reproduce digital images of film posters in the process. We collect and curate these digital images and, where possible, publish the original weblinks to such websites. We have recently received a large dataset of film posters along with important metadata from one of the major film directors in Nigeria.