Storytelling is an ancient custom in Somali culture
. Love of cinema in Somalia
is but a modern, visual incarnation and continuation of this well-established oral tradition.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, popular musicals (also known as Riwaayado in the Somali language) were the main driving force behind the Somali film industry.
Somalis are great fans of Bollywood movies, so Somali films tend to follow that same patented mixture of love stories and Hollywood oriented-action.
In 1987, Somali film director Abdulkadir Ahmed Said released a short film entitled Geedka Nolosha or tree of life, which earned him an award the following year for Best Short film at the Turin Film Festival.
Although nowhere near the production values of Hollywood, a new generation of movies coming from the Somali film industry (colloquially known as Somaliwood
) are growing increasingly popular among Somalis
both in Somalia and in the diaspora. The young directors Abdisalam Aato and Abdi Malik Isak are at the forefront of this quiet revolution.