The setting is Liberia, and war orphan Edwin has assembled a number of local villagers together to help him film an independent film. Taking after the popular village films from Nigeria, or “Nollywood” films, as they are referred, Edwin is making a village film with the common Nollywood characteristics: set in a village with a problem, where whichever villager solves the problem gets to marry the village King’s daughter as a reward.
Todd Looby’s documentary short film Lollywood captures the universal filmmaking spirit on screen. Edwin’s love of Nollywood films, the majority of the films he’s seen in his life, spurs him to create his own. And when he brags about not taking weeks or months to create his, but getting the entire production together in a single day, you see the strength he has gained from the experience. Even if you make a bad film, just getting through it is a triumph that many don’t realize. And Edwin and friends did so, and did so well; I haven’t seen many… okay, any… Nollywood films, but based on what the characteristics are as explained by Edwin, he nailed it.
Which becomes all the more impressive when you consider the reality of Liberia, and of Edwin, and other’s, experience in war. In this case, as in many others, art is allowing an outlet to heal at best and distract at worst. Overall, though, it empowers.
If you’ve ever wanted to make a film, and found yourself up against the obstacles of “no budget, no cast, blah blah blah,” then Lollywood straight-up knocks your excuses out. If a village in Liberia can spend one day and make a film reminiscent of their favorite genre, what’s your damn problem!?! In that way, Lollywood not only empowers those in the film, it empowers and inspires those that watch it.