• Tuesday, June 25, 2024
businessday logo


Breaking the celluloid ceiling: The unstoppable rise of women in the film industry

Breaking the celluloid ceiling: The unstoppable rise of women in the film industry

In the realm of cinema, where dreams flicker to life on the silver screen, there exists a barrier as formidable as it is invisible—the celluloid ceiling. For decades, this barrier has loomed large, obstructing the path of countless talented women aspiring to leave their indelible mark on the canvas of cinema. Yet, despite the challenges, the rise of women in the film industry is nothing short of unstoppable.

Having spent decades as both an actor and producer in this industry, I’ve had the privilege of observing the profound impact of women on our cinematic terrain. From an era where opportunities were rare and acknowledgment rarer still, to the present day where women proudly take centre stage, displaying remarkable grace and resilience, the journey has been a truly transformative one.

In the early days of Nollywood, women were often relegated to peripheral roles, often reduced to mere adornments or damsels in distress. This phenomenon stems from the scarcity of women in positions of influence within the industry. Nonetheless, as Nollywood evolved and embraced a more diverse outlook, the narrative began to shift. Women seized opportunities, infusing their stories with depth, nuance, and authenticity.

One of the most striking aspects of this transformation is the emergence of female storytellers who fearlessly explore a wide range of themes and narratives. No longer bound by traditional expectations, they delve into complex issues such as gender inequality, social justice, and cultural identity, infusing their films with depth and authenticity.

In addition, women in Nollywood are not just making films; they are making history. They are smashing records, winning awards, and earning international acclaim for their contributions to the art of filmmaking. Their names grace marquees and film festivals around the globe, proving that talent knows no gender.

The most inspiring aspect of the rise of women in Nollywood is the ripple effect it has created within the industry and beyond. As more women ascend to positions of influence, they pave the way for others, creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for future generations of filmmakers.

Moreover, the rise of women extends beyond just filmmaking, production, cinematography, editing, and every facet of the filmmaking process, but also leadership roles in film festivals, film academies, educational conferences aimed at nurturing the next generation of filmmakers, and numerous other aspects of the industry. Women are making their presence felt in these areas, breaking stereotypes at every level and dismantling antiquated notions of what it means to work in the industry.

Yet, despite the progress that has been made, challenges remain. The road to equality is never easy, and women in Nollywood continue to face obstacles ranging from funding constraints to entrenched sexism. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from decades in this industry, it’s that resilience is a woman’s greatest asset.

In the end, breaking the celluloid ceiling is not just about shattering glass ceilings; it’s about creating a sky full of stars where every woman can shine brightly and boldly. And in Nollywood, the sky has never looked more beautiful.

Nwakaego Boyo; Founder, Temple Productions and Temple Media.