The sub-project looks at film history and film heritage as a resource in cultural production. In particular, the project studies how templates from regional film histories reappear in contemporary Nigerian films, and how digital access reshapes both audiences’ perceptions of film history and their appraisal of new films.

We argue that, for the three decades since the emergence of the Nigerian non/post-celluloid film industries, Nigerian film producers have mostly focused on novelty and short-term cycles of commercial exploitation rather than the long-term cultivation of copyrights typical of more consolidated film industries like Hollywood. We work from the hypothesis that Nigerian film culture is approaching a tipping point where the longer-term digital circulation of older films in complete versions or abbreviated forms such as memes leads audiences to develop a sophisticated awareness of Nigeria’s film history and causes producers to recognize the longer-term value of individual films. We seek to test this hypothesis by looking, among other things, at remake cycles in recent Nigerian film productions, distribution catalogues of streaming platforms, and paratextual forms of circulations like film-based memes.


The project combines film analysis/textual analysis with industry analysis and production studies. We look at the transformation of visual style in Nigerian cinema and look at continuities and discontinuities with previous periods of Nigerian film history. We use archival research and digital methods to trace professional trajectories of artists and technicians by collating film school ledgers, employment records, and screen credits; we use digital methods to observe online fan and audience discourses about contemporary and historical films, as well as preference patterns in streaming and other forms of circulation. We further use archival research and on-site research including interviews with producers, directors, actors, writers, and other figures in the Nigerian film industry to trace the impact of artistic and organizational templates from earlier phases of the industry’s development and their digital afterlives on contemporary production.


Screen Worlds workshop now online

The Screen Worlds Workshop “Shaping the Conversation: Decolonising Film with Nigerian Women Filmmakers Omoni Oboli + Tope Oshin” is now online. African women filmmakers are continuously making powerful statements through their creative efforts in film and television. These statements are...

Ethnographic methods

The classical method of ethnographic research requires researchers to travel to the people whose cultural practices they intend to study. They live among them for a period of time, learn their language, and participate in their daily activities, methods that...