14 years ago, some A-list Nollywood actors were banned by film marketers. Looking back, Ramsey Nouah talks to Pulse about its impact on the Nigerian film industry.
In 2004, eight A-List Nollywood actors, including Ramsey Nouah, Genevieve Nnaji and RMD, were banned by marketers for charging huge fees.
During the media rounds for his new movie "Crazy People," Nouah talked to Pulse about the impact of the ban on the Nigerian film industry. According to the actor, it paved way for a new era, the cinema era.
"That's the bridge between the Nollywood that we had and the new Nollywood, which is the cinemas," he told Pulse.
Popularly called the G8, the banned actors were Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Richard Mofe Damijo, Genevieve Nnaji, Emeka Ike, Ramsey Nouah, Nkem Owoh, Stella Damasus and Jim Iyke.
It all started in the early 2000s when according to Charles Novia, actors started preferring marketers to independent producers.
"They felt shooting with the marketers guaranteed them steady jobs compared to independents like us, who they felt added no value to their career," Novia wrote in his book "Nollywood till November: Memoirs of a Nollywood Insider."
Marketers paid fees into actors' accounts even before negotiations, and as a result of this, most actors had a backlog of productions to deliver on.
In a bid to curb this, the marketers decided to ban these actors from starring in a movie for one year. A decision that shook the industry, infuriated loyal fans, birthed a new generation of actors and invigorated a lost era – the cinema era.
"So that bracket gave birth to the cinema. The cinema started and then we started making movies for the cinemas since the DVD market was beginning to think that they owned it [all] and could decide to turn someone's life around," Nouah said.
"We just delved into it [cinema business] and as you can see, an alternative market. Now the DVD market is almost dead and gone. There's so much piracy going on there. It's not a regulated market so even if you make your big movies and you want to take it to DVD, it's selling little or nothing."
In a 2011 interview with Connect Nigeria, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde said the ban was part of the changes the industry had to go through.
"Most of the people we had worked with were not professionals. They didn't understand the chain of movie making. They thought "why would you be asking me for that kind of money?" We fought it and today, actors are well paid."
14 years later, Nouah has effortlessly remained relevant in the entertainment industry, with an array of successful movies to his name.
Even with the arrival of a younger generation, Nouah's on-screen and off-screen appeal hasn't declined.
In 2017, his role as Captain Dewa in the critically acclaimed movie "76" earned him an Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award Best Actor nomination. The actor attributes his relevance to his passion.
"I love the art and I give it my all. So that has really helped, sailed me through and made me constant," he said.
"And I go with the tide. I flow with the demography of the generation that has been from that time till now. It has really aided me alot.
And of course, as I said, because I am passion-driven, I go for very good jobs. I pick my characters and my script so I can stay relevant."
Some of Nouah's upcoming films include "Yoruba Demons" and "Living in Bondage: Breaking Free," a sequel to the 1992 classic of same name, which will also be his directorial debut.