Olusegun Soetan

2015-16 Research Report

My doctoral research, “Canonizing Trash: A study of Four Nollywood directors,” in which I argue for the adoption of auteur criticism for appraising Nollywood films, is ongoing. My central question is why auteurist criticism has not been brought to bear on Nollywood films despite its impact on African cinema and global film culture. In the summer of 2015, I went on a research trip to Nigeria with funding from the Ebrahim Hussein Fellowship. I spent about eight weeks in Nigeria visiting film locations and meeting filmmakers. The purpose of the trip was to witness and document: 1) how Nollywood filmmakers make films; 2) the different constraints faced by the filmmakers within the Nigerian cultural and socio-economic contexts; and 3) how each filmmaker defines cinematic aesthetics and creates it in his/her films.   I conducted interviews with two filmmakers on whom my project focuses, and a few others. Based on this research, I have written two chapters of my dissertation, and have three more yet to write. I intend to finish writing and defend my dissertation in the spring of 2017.

I have also created a website (www.african-knowledge.com) for my research interests including Nollywood and African cinema. With this website, I plan to share my scholarship on Nollywood, charms, and Isegun (traditional medicine).

Image: Segun Soetan & Tunde Kelani (Filmmaker and the CEO, Mainframe Production—Opomulero)