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The rise of the alte movement in Nigeria

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By Abraham Adekunle

Nigerian cinema beyond Nollywood in the hands of indie filmmakers.

Cinema culture is growing at an exponential rate in Nigeria. The evidence is in the revenue generated from movies alone in 2022. Once, seeing a movie at the cinema was luxury to the average Nigerian. Instead, they resorted to home videos in VCD and DVD formats. Fast forward to the 2010s, Nigerians can now boast of being able to see movies at the cinema at affordable prices. According to Cinema Exhibitors Association of Nigeria (CEAN), Nigerians spent 6.94 billion on movies at the cinema in 2022.

However, the creative film industry has benefited a lot from the Alte movement in Nigeria. Alte is a movement in the film industry. This culture allows young creatives to embrace their uniqueness. It is a culture that allows young independent filmmakers to tell their stories in unconventional styles and film in some seemingly bizarre fashion. The year 2020 brought a lot of this into the limelight as the conditions were perfectly right.

Blessing of a pandemic with a rush of creative output.

While the COVID-19 pandemic had a lot of downsides to Nigerians, one of its blessings is that there was a spring in creativity. As the world locked down cities and metropolises, a new wave of creatives rose beyond the closed doors with platforms such as YouTube and TikTok helping them reach a larger audience. These brilliant minds were extremely creative, damning the extremely restrictive directives and limited human resources. They chose alternative, individualistic and non-traditional modes of self-expression to create contents.

For instance, some of these youngsters shot movies with their smartphones and ring lights. It was not surprising that they became instant stars. The resources that they lacked on ground were readily available to them online. It occurred in the form of people’s viewing their videos and subscribing to their channels. Some of the independent filmmakers who struggled before the pandemic hit and world locked down were discovered by fun-seeking people who were trapped at home by the lockdown.

From online content creation behind closed doors to the streets.

When the lockdown was eased and people gradually returned to the streets after months of staying indoors, these independents also took their crafts to the streets in a bid to make their content more interesting and cater to the new social dynamics. This was when some of these people who were filming for fun during the lockdown took the task up as a professional career after the streets opened up. And today, they are regarded as independent because they exist uniquely outside the traditional Nigerian motion picture industry known as Nollywood.

Some of the filmmakers include Korty EO, Tayo Aina, Manuchim Praize, and Brain Jotter. Korty EO, real name Eniola Olanrewaju, has been described as the “poster child” of Nigerian urban culture. She is also regarded as one of the most popular faces in the Lagos post-digital creative taxonomy. She warmed her way into the hearts of many Gen Z youngsters with her entertaining YouTube videos. Also, Manuchim Praize (also known as Odogwu) is another independent filmmaker in Nigerian redefining the space. He is the brain behind the popular “Selina Tested” series.

Tayo Aina with his groundbreaking YouTube work.

Temitayo Aina is a famous travel video blogger in Nigeria. The 30-year-old photographer, filmmaker and storyteller is one of Africa’s most prominent YouTubers and arguably Nigeria’s most famous travel vlogger. He has created a niche in lifestyle, travel, business and real estate. And has been telling the Nigerian and African story in a different perspective from the Western media. His YouTube channel has garnered over 600,000 subscribers and more than 60 million total views. According to him, he remains committed to using nuanced visual storytelling to erase the decades of stereotypes ascribed to the African continent by the Western media.

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