July 10, 2010

Rubbing Too Many Elbows

Today I either hit the jackpot for my Nollywood thesis, or I completely forfeited my whole summer.

I had read that all the Nollywood glitterati congregate in the evenings at Wini’s bar and restaurant. When an actor I had gotten in touch with invited me to meet him there tonight, I learned that this evaluation of Wini’s is somehow an understatement. The actor, Rykardo, took me around to introduce me "to a few friends” on the grounds. Within ten seconds I was suddenly shaking hands with the President of the Producers Association, the President of the Directors Association, and the President of the Marketers Association. Basically, all the most elite figures in the industry who I was planning on spending an entire summer hunting down. My thesis was standing right in front of me, looking somewhat bemused at the sweaty white kid in a T-shirt.

I realized at some point that they expected me to speak. I stuttered my name and explained that I was here to study “Nigeria movies. Nollywood Nigerian industry.” Oy. The Presidents just blinked at me, a bit annoyed, then they all started insisting simultaneously that I needed to speak to the other two presidents, trying to pass me off to each other. Encouraging. Somehow I stammered that I would chase them all down for interviews, if of course they had a free moment and it wouldn’t be trouble, and excused myself. I’m pretty sure I intimidated them with my journalistic steely resolve. We'll see if I ever get any of them to talk to me again.