With major innovations such as internet, electricity and photography, Cinema too emerged as a means of entertainment. Prior to the First World War, film industry was considered as the 4th largest export industry. The worldwide film industries have always grown successfully and the competition between various film industries in respective countries have led to a huge development in films production. The major film making centers are USA, India and Hong Kong. Let’s discuss some of the oldest and largest film industries.
Indian Film Industry
India is the largest film producing country in the world, with a production of over 1100 films each year. Generally, movies in India are 3-4 hours long, with lots of songs and romance. About 1.4% of 1 billion population of India goes to watch movies in theaters, on a daily basis.
History: Films arrived in India in 1896, when the Lumière brothers first demonstrated their cinematography of moving pictures in Paris. During the world-war, 85% of feature films released in India were American. The introduction of sound and art-cinema in Indian films proved to be a boom in the film industry. Social concerns and rich diversity led to an increase in the film demand.
Regional Industries: With about 24 languages spoken in the country, the industry is fragmented in many parts like: Hindi (Bollywood), Marathi, Tamil (Kollywood), Telugu (Tollywood) and Malayalam Cinemas. Bollywood is the leading film production industry in India. Initiated in 1911, the first feature film- “Raja Harishchandra” by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke had boomed the industry. Today there are more than 250 theaters and 6 major awards ceremony in Mumbai alone. The word Bollywood was derived from a mixture of “Bombay” (now known as Mumbai) and “Hollywood”. It is estimated that typically, the leading stars in Bollywood industry earns at least 40% of the U.S. $2 million budget. The average cost of typical Bollywood movie is more than 2.5 million rupees.
Global Impact in the International Cinema: Since years, the industry is already obsessed with international films. “Titanic” is still topping list of ‘favorite movies’ in India. It is estimated that more than 150 films had arrived in India in 1998. Likewise, Indian films too are in a huge demand in Britain, Europe and USA. The size of Indian Film Industry is estimated to be more than 20,000 Crore Indian Rupees (nearly $4 billion). Its revenue income is earned from 70% of ticket sales, about 15-20% from overseas and nearly 4% from Hollywood.
A Successful Future: Successful hits like “Mother India”,”Mughal-E-Azam” and “Sholay” have won a global recognition. Movies like “Lagaan” (nominated by the Academy Awards) and “Devdas” (screened at the Cannes Film Festival) have inspired the global audiences. Most actors have established a reputable status in the film industry with prominent roles in international films. The industry has created millions of employment opportunities and enhanced tourism. Its achievements and a stable history have promised as glorified future in the coming years.
Nigerian Film Industry
Known as Nollywood, the Nigerian Film Industry is the 2nd largest film industry in the world. Nigerian films are mostly shot in scenic locations and rented hotels, homes and offices. Nigerian directors always opt for the most affordable techniques of producing films. Famous for its family oriented movies, the industry is also considered as the 2nd largest employer in Nigeria.
History- Films in Nigeria have been produced since 1960s; however, owing to the inception of digital filming and editing, the industry has been growing non-stop since 1990s and 2000s. Long back in 1960s, Ola Balogun and Co. initiated the concept of making movies in Nigeria; however they were unsuccessful in the attempt. According to some legend, the first Nigerian film was made by a small electronics trader- Kenneth Nnebue, who accidentally struck with a shipment of blank video-tapes. This movie broke records in Nigeria (with over 750,000 copies sold), even before the industry started. This inspired others to produce more films. From the first film made in traditional analog video, today most of the Nigerian films are produced in digital-video technology. Movies based on African beliefs of spirits, magic and moral dilemmas, led to its attraction. Moreover, the use of English language in the films aggravated its worldwide expansion.
- On an average, Nigerian films are made in just 2-3 weeks, and nearly 500,000 copies are sold in Diaspora and Nigeria.
- The African Movie Academy Awards (AMMA) (since 2005) is the most important award in this industry.
- The average budget of Nollywood movies is 10,000 euros.
- Alabi -Hundeyin’s “Iyawo Alhaji” is officially regarded as the first movie to be censored and classified by NFVCB (Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board) (1994).
Global Impact- Nigerian movies have a universal appeal through its social and artistic values. The NICOCUSA Nigerian Film Festival has been established to foster cultural and artistic exchange between Nollywood and Hollywood filmmakers. A new festival- “Nollywood Now” has been introduced in London which showcases many documentaries and feature films.
Success and Efforts- At present, the major problem faced by the industry is “piracy”, due to which it is losing millions. With films shot in simple digital cameras and perhaps only 2 dozen proper theaters in Nigeria, the industry will have to take great efforts for a steady growth in future. Nollywood churns out more than 2,400 films each year with an annual turnover of only $250 million. However, the good news is that, Nigeria is out-producing Hollywood, with sheer numbers of films. Due to the economic developments, today, it does not require any governmental aid or foreign investment to fund movies. Despite facing criticism for its low quality films and lack of professional trainings, the industry has a huge number of fans, due to its deep appeal to African stories. The industry has a great impact on the Media Industry; it offers innumerous opportunities for publishers and producers of media organizations. With an increased popularity in Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and recently in North America, the film industry is all set to conquer the world.
Japanese Film Industry
Nationally known as “Hugo”, The Japanese Film Industry is one of the largest and oldest film industries in the globe. Japan has produced 411 movies in 2011. It is considered as the 4th largest feature film producer (2010).
Japan has a rich history of 100 years. After the introduction of kinetoscope in 1896, and the Lumière Brother’s Cinematography, Japan was all set to enter the world of moving pictures since 1987. After the earthquake in 1923 and the World War II (1940), Japan suffered economic loss. The government of Japan saw “cinema” as a tool to recover its financial debts. Japan had a weak beginning between 1950s-1990s, due to its cultural differences. However, the popularity of Japanese horror and animated films gained it world recognition, after the inception of sound in 1930s.
- Japanese movies are expensive. A single ticket costs more than $20. There are about 3000 movie theaters in Japan, with more than 3,168 screens in multiplexes (2011).
- “The Nippon Connection” is the largest Japanese culture and film festival, held in Europe.
- The Japanese film market became the 2nd largest in the world (with $12 billion income).
- Some of the famous remakes in America are originally Japanese, like: The Ring, Dark Water and The Grudge.
- Tokyo International Film Festival is the only Japanese film festival accredited by the International Federation of Film Producers Associations.
- The anime films account about 60% of the Japanese film production.
Impact of Japanese Film Industry on the International Cinema:
With a production of 821 films in 2006 and 411 films in 2011, Japanese Film industry has showed downfall in film production over a period of time. However, Japan has also outnumbered USA as the world’s largest exporter of animation and comics. The advent of animation has such an impact that, the Asian markets are using Japanese comic characters and animations for promoting major products and services. Most of the Japanese horror films are remade in USA. Undergoing dramatic changes in the recent years, Japan has indeed made a significant contribution towards the growth of global films worldwide. Looking at the current scenario in Japan after the tsunami, today the industry’s main concern is just to survive.