Get your -ollywoods straight

Question: Where are the top three movie-producing industries in the world?

Hint: Yes, they all end in “-ollywood,” and, yes, one of them is in fact Hollywood.

Answer: But the United States’ vaunted movie machine is not first, as lovers of Indian “Bollywood” flicks surely know. Nor, however, is it even second any more. According to the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Nollywood has moved into the runner-up position. (That’s the moniker for Nigeria’s film industry, for those less well-acquainted with the global distribution of -ollywoods.)

What’s more, it wasn’t even close. Nigeria produced more than 400 more feature-length films than the U.S. in a year, and, even if fewer people have seen them, it’s still an impressive cultural achievement. As UNESCO’s Director-General puts it, with only a touch of bombast:

Film and video production are shining examples of how cultural industries – as vehicles of identity, values and meanings – can open the door to dialogue and understanding between peoples, but also to economic growth and development.

And as in other economic and cultural arenas, if the U.S. wants to keep up, it will have to acknowledge and interact with the burgeoning industries in the rest of the world.

(image of a sampling of Nollywood movies, from flickr user mtrank under a Creative Commons license)