Original Title: Nollywood aan de Schelde
a documentary by Saartje Geerts
2008, single documentary, 48’, English – Dutch spoken
John is a young Nigerian immigrant who has been living in Antwerp for a number of years. Like most of his compatriots, he is a great fan of Nollywood movies. “Nollywood” represents the Nigerian film industry, the third largest in the world. Nollywood films are straight from the heart. They are made quickly and on a shoestring, and they tell stories from life with a strong moral content. John dreams of a career as a famous and respected Nollywood filmmaker, and of building a life in Europe.
But then he becomes involved in a shady affair. He is arrested and subsequently convicted of inciting prostitution and of complicity in people trafficking. After serving his sentence, he decides to make his own story into a film, called “Desperate Hearts”.
The manner in which John presents his tale, interspersed with comments from friends-cum-actors as well as independent testimonies from Nigeria, ultimately reveals what led to his conviction.
But is John really guilty?
And will making this film help him to regain the respect he so craves? Little is known about life in the Nigerian community in Europe. “Nollywood Abroad” lifts the veil by an original combination of four thematic threads: immigration, prostitution, religion and… filmmaking.
- Opendoek Filmfestival, Turnhout (B), 20-04-2008, world premiere
- De cultuurkaravaan, Antwerp (B), 31-07-2008
- Official Competition of Miradas-Doc 2008 in the First Film category, Canarian Islands (E), November 08
- Official Competition of Al Jazeera Festival, Doha (Qatar), April 2009
- The Black International Cinema Festival, Berlin, May 2009, awarded ‘Best Documentary’
- VRT Canvas (B), 30-04-2008
- ARTE (G/F), 10-07-2008
written & directed by: Saartje Geerts
executive production by: Mark Daems
photography: Marc Appeltans & Hans De Bauw
sound engineering: Steven Van Roy
edited by: Geert De Doncker
original score: Antoon Offeciers
a co-production with: CANVAS, ZDF
in collaboration with: ARTE
supported by: Flanders Audiovisual Fund
distribution & sales: Associate Directors
On the director
Saartje Geerts studied Political and Social Sciences at the University of Ghent (B). At the University Pompeu Fabra of Barcelona she continued her training with a master in Creative Documentary, which met her particular interests: film and socio-political questions.
In Spain she collaborated on fiction film and documentary projects. Meanwhile she worked at the Centre for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona in the Exhibitions Department where she was responsible for audiovisual aspects.
On her return in Antwerp she started working on her first own documentary ‘Nollywood Abroad’, which she completed early 2008.
DVD with documentary, English/Dutch/German subtitles and 15’ of extra’s. Please enquire by mail.