Nigeria: World Capital of Christian Cinema

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WHello Fireproof, Facing the giants, and The passion of Christ have publicized a renaissance of Christian cinema in the United States, Nigerian Christians are actively contributing to the rise of the Nigerian film industry known as Nollywood.

Nollywood recently overtook Hollywood in film production, according to a UNESCO survey released in May. The Lagos-based industry has been around for less than 20 years and yet produced 872 feature films in 2006, nearly double the 485 productions in Hollywood. (The two followed India, which has produced over 1,000 films.)

Most Nigerian films, which are almost all low budget films shot on location and released on DVD, are spiritual in nature. About 20 percent are Christians, according to Obidike Okafor, arts and culture reporter at the Nigerian newspaper. Next. Others defend Islam, animism and witchcraft, or simple morality.

Christian-themed films are often aimed at encouragement and evangelism more than pure entertainment. Groups or churches often screen the films and follow them with discussions or an altar call.

“Nigerian films are really watched,” said Sunday Oguntola, religious reporter for the Nigerian newspaper. The nation. “[People] love to watch stories. I rent an average of five movies every weekend to watch with my family. “

The Oguntola Baptist Church shows films two or three times a month during the evening service. “People like to see life in movies,” he said. “They can watch them for hours.” Showing films is generally more effective than preaching, and religious leaders benefit from it, he said.

Movies are also an important part of witnessing in Nigeria, said Philip Jenkins, professor of history and religious studies at Pennsylvania State University. “This is particularly good …

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