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The Problematic Mise En Scène of NeoNollywood


Samantha Iwowo

Media Production Department, Faculty of Media and Communications, Bournemouth University Bournemouth, GB
About Samantha
Samantha Iwowo is a transnational-African-film researcher, filmmaker, screenwriter, as well as lecturer in Directing, at the Bournemouth University, UK.
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This paper deconstructs the typical mise en scène of neo-Nollywood films. Herein, “neoNollywood” as coined by Nigerian filmmaker, Charles Novia (2012: 124), will be the descriptor for the cinema sphere of the mainstream Nigerian film industry, Nollywood. It will argue that there is a considerable level of illiteracy about cinematic language in neoNollywood productions, and that this troubles its capacity to “tell its stories” to the world articulately. It will submit that this inability stems from a predisposition that seeks to tell a story – being overly reliant on dialogue - rather than to show the story through its mise en scène of audio–visual metaphors, which is the definition of cinema. The conversation will be with core attention to three films: 30 Days in Atlanta (2014), Chief Daddy (2018) and my most recent screenplay, Mugabe (forthcoming), directed by Robert Peters. Each film will be analysed via textual analysis with reference to the theories of dramaturgy and mise en scène. Reflections on my practice as a screenwriter and director will also be invited to the conversation. This paper draws on findings of my doctoral research, which bridge the gap between the scholarship of neo-Nollywood film studies and that of its practice, with core attention to cinematic techniques. Until this research, this gap in Nollywood studies remained unaddressed.
How to Cite: Iwowo, S., 2020. The Problematic Mise En Scène of NeoNollywood. Communication Cultures in Africa, 2(1). DOI:
Published on 30 Jun 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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