‘I am here to make films for the world’ says Nigerian director of global hit “The Black Book”

Nigerian action thriller  “The Black Book” has taken the streaming world by storm, spending three weeks among Nextflix’s top 10 English-language titles globally, peaking at No. 3 in the second week.

It garnered 5.6 million views just 48 hours after its Sept. 22 release and by its second week was featured among the top 10 titles in 69 countries, according to Netflix.

Director Editi Effiong said the movie walked on the way paved by its predecessors.

“’The Black Book’ is standing on the shoulders of those many generations of filmmakers. This is the next step. It’s not different, it’s not anything spectacular. It’s just a natural progression of the industry.”

“The industry is right now at the point where the world needs to take notice. Why? Because ‘The Black Book’ is a film by Black people, Black actors, Black producers, Black money, 100%. And it’s gone ahead and become a global blockbuster. “

Nollywood, Nigeria’s film industry, has been a global phenomenon since the 1990s when it rose to fame with such films as “Living in Bondage,” a thriller with Kunle Afolayan’s Aníkúlápó released in 2022 and peaking at No. 1 on Netflix’s global chart. It is the world’s second-largest film industry after India based on number of productions, with an average of 2,000 movies released annually.

Nollywood’s latest blockbuster, “The Black Book,” tells the story of a bereaved deacon who seeks to take justice into his own hands and fights a corrupt police gang after his son is framed for a kidnapping.

The issue of delayed justice strikes and revenge is universal it. In Nigeria, many may remember the deadly protests of 2020 when young Nigerians demonstrating against police brutality were shot at and killed.

African stories

“One of the things I realize is that there is still a lot of novelty around African stories. African stories are very, you can touch them, you can feel them. They are still rooted, deeply rooted in family and human feeling”, Effiong said. 

“There’s a lot of empathy in our storytelling. And I believe that is something that the world needs more of, the world needs more empathy.”

Main character pastor Paul Edima is played by Nigerian movie icon Richard Mofe-Damijo.

The 2-hour-four-minute film is Editi Effiong’s first feature film.

“The industry is at a place now where we’ve… There’s no more excuse, we can make stories for the world. And that’s what we’re here for. That’s what I am here for.”.”

The $1 million movie was financed with the support of a team of experts and founders in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem.