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And yet Africans have mixed feelings about Nollywood.

Among Africa's elites, hostility is almost uniform.

The Nigerian business capital, Lagos, is said by locals to have produced more films than there are stars in the sky.

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“Films are made on the run, sometimes literally,” says Emem Isong, one of Nigeria's few female producers, during a shoot.

“Some of the guys are hiding from the police.” All scenes are shot on location and with a shoestring budget of no more than $100,000. The sound of honking motorbikes is drowned out by blaring television sets showing film trailers.

In the heated era of independence they came to be seen as tools of foreign domination.

The first true Nollywood film resulted from an ill-advised business venture.

Five decades after much of Africa gained independence, its elites fear being re-colonised, this time from within the continent.

“The Nigerians will eat everything we have,” says a former official at the Ghanaian ministry of chieftaincy and culture.The more alarmist describe Nigerian directors and producers as voodoo priests casting malign spells over audiences in other countries.They talk of the “Nigerianisation” of Africa, worrying that the whole continent has come to “snap its fingers the Nigerian way”. Several have brought in protectionist measures, including spurious production fees.Ivorian rebels in the bush stop fighting when a shipment of DVDs arrives from Lagos.Zambian mothers say their children talk with accents learnt from Nigerian television.The continent's first films were imported by European rulers and shown in grand viewing halls with columned porticos.

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