Film industry

Film industry

The film industry consists of the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking: i.e. film production companies, film studios, cinematography, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, distribution; and actors, film directors and other film personnel.

Though the expense involved in making movies almost immediately led film production to concentrate under the auspices of standing production companies, advances in affordable film making equipment, and expansion of opportunities to acquire investment capital from outside the film industry itself, have allowed independent film production to evolve.

Modern film industry

The film industry as it stands today spans the globe. The major business centers of film making are concentrated in the United States, EU, India and China.

Distinct from the business centers are the locations where movies are filmed. Because of labor and infrastructure costs, many films are produced in countries other than the one in which the company which pays for the film is located. For example, many U.S. movies are filmed in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand or in Eastern European countries.

United States

Hollywood, California is the primary nexus of the U.S. film industry. However, four of the major film studios are owned by East Coast companies. Only The Walt Disney Company and owner of Walt Disney Pictures, Touchstone Pictures, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Films, and the Pixar Animation Studios is actually headquartered in Southern California. The same can be said for Sony Pictures which is headquartered in Culver City, California, although the corporate side of Sony Pictures is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.


Networking and establishing strong relationships are a vital part of Hollywood. The town is scattered with talented artists who do not possess the means to pitch their ideas or acquire representation. Reading the trades, Hollywood jargon for reading Daily Variety or The Hollywood Reporter, and joining a networking group or tracking board are ways to stay on top of the job market as well as the project market. This helps them take advantage of knowledge spillover. and are the two most widely used tracking board sites.


The Indian film industry is multi-lingual and the largest in the world (1200 movies released in 2002). The industry is supported mainly by a vast film-going Indian public (the largest in the world in terms of annual ticket sales), and Indian films have been gaining increasing popularity in the rest of the world — notably in countries with large numbers of expatriate Indians. One third of the India's film industry is mostly concentrated in Mumbai (Bombay), and is commonly referred to as "Bollywood" as an amalgamation of Bombay and Hollywood. The remaining majority portion is spread across west & south India (in Marathi, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu speaking areas). However, there are several smaller centers of Indian film industries in regional languages (Apart from Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam) centered in the states those languages are spoken. Indian films are made filled with action, romance, comedy, dance and an increasing number of special effects.


Hong Kong, China is a filmmaking hub for the Chinese-speaking world (including the worldwide diaspora) and East Asia in general. For decades it was the third largest motion picture industry in the world (after Indian and Hollywood) and the second largest exporter of films. Despite an industry crisis starting in the mid-'90s and Hong Kong's return to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997, Hong Kong film has retained much of its distinctive identity and continues to play a prominent part on the world cinema stage.

Unlike many film industries, Hong Kong has enjoyed little to no direct government support, through either subsidies or import quotas. It has always been a thoroughly commercial cinema, concentrating on crowd-pleasing genres, like comedy and action, and heavily reliant on formulas, sequels and remakes. Typically of commercial cinemas, its heart is a highly developed star system, which in this case also features substantial overlap with the pop music industry.


Also known as "Nollywood".

Nigeria was ushered into modern film making by a film known as Living in Bondage, which featured Kenneth Okonwo, Kanayo. O. Kanayo, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Francis Agu, Ngozi Nwosu, Nnena Nwabueze, etc. This movie, which hit the market in 1992, marked a turning point in the Nigerian Movie Industry and heralded the trend in modern day movie making in Nigeria.

The movie capital of the country was in Lagos. However, over the years, there has been a shift from Lagos to Enugu, in the eastern part of the country. This shift is said to be championed by Pete Edochie - a veteran in the communications industry who turned an actor and has become one of the most successful in Nigeria.

Now, with the launching of TINAPA Studios in Cross River State of Nigeria, we expect yet another shift in the regular base of the movie industry in Nigeria, considering the attractive ultra modern facilities, and beautiful scenery and location of Calabar, the capital of Cross Rivers.

The movie industry in Nigeria would not be complete without a mention of those behind the movies. Not the actors this time, but the sponsors or producers who are mostly based in Onitsha, the commercial capital of Anambra State, of Nigeria.


The film industry in Cameroon is still developing with few films produced on occasio. This delay in the growth of the Cameroonian film industry, as opposed to other African countries, is due principally to lack of finance and film schools to train the personnel that can pilot the growth of the industry. The modern Cameroonian film industry started slowly about 1995 with the production of the first Cameroonian home video on VHS, Love Has Eyes by Mfuh Ebeneser, One of the first Actors in the movie was Felix LeShey who now resides in the United States. Other Cameroonian productions include: Potent Secrets, Last of the Serpents, Heaven Forbids, Peace Offering, Wendy, Blues Kingdom, Public Order, Sweetest Bitterness, Paris at all Cost, & most recently, The Good Mother of Abangoh Having been in the film industry for about 14 years since the production of Love Has Eyes, and identifying that lack of trained personnel (besides finance) is the main reason why the film industry is not taking off, Mfuh Ebeneser has created a film academy accredited by Cameroon's Ministry of Employment and Vocational training with the support of the ministry of culture. The academy called KM Professional Film Academy, is the first of its kind in Cameroon.


The first feature film ever made was that of The Story of the Kelly Gang, an Australian film based on the infamous Ned Kelly. In 1906 Dan Barry and Charles Tait of Melbourne produced and directed The Story of the Kelly Gang, a silent film that ran continuously for a breathtaking 80 minutes. It was not until 1911 that countries other than Australia began to make feature films. By this time Australia had made 16 full length feature films.

In the early 1900s, in the earliest years of the industry, motion picture production companies from New York and New Jersey started moving to California because of the good weather and longer days. Although electric lights existed at that time, none were powerful enough to adequately expose film; the best source of illumination for movie production was natural sunlight. Besides the moderate, dry climate, they were also drawn to the state because of its open spaces and wide variety of natural scenery.

Another reason was the distance of Southern California from New Jersey, which made it more difficult for Thomas Edison to enforce his motion picture patents. At the time, Edison owned almost all the patents relevant to motion picture production and, in the East, movie producers acting independently of Edison's Motion Picture Patents Company were often sued or enjoined by Edison and his agents. Thus, movie makers working on the West Coast could work independent of Edison's control. If he sent agents to California, word would usually reach Los Angeles before the agents did and the movie makers could escape to nearby Mexico.


The first movie studio in the Hollywood area, Nestor Studios, was founded in 1911 by Al Christie for David Horsley in an old building on the northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. In the same year, another fifteen Independents settled in Hollywood. Hollywood came to be so strongly associated with the film industry that the word "Hollywood" came to be used colloquially to refer to the entire industry.

In 1913, Cecil B. DeMille, in association with Jesse Lasky, leased a barn with studio facilities on the southeast corner of Selma and Vine Streets from the Burns and Revier Studio and Laboratory, which had been established there. DeMille then began production of The Squaw Man (1914). It became known as the Lasky-DeMille Barn and is currently the location of the Hollywood Heritage Museum.

The Charlie Chaplin Studios, on the northeast corner of La Brea and De Longpre Avenues jusl south of Sunset Boulevard, was built in 1917. It has had many owners after 1953, including Kling Studios, who produced the Superman TV series with George Reeves; Red Skelton, who used the sound stages for his CBS TV variety show; and CBS, who filmed the TV series Perry Mason with Raymond Burr there. It has also been owned by Herb Alpert's A&M Records and Tijuana Brass Enterprises. It is currently The Jim Henson Company, home of the Muppets. In 1969, The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board named the studio a historical cultural monument.

The famous Hollywood sign originally read "Hollywoodland." It was erected in 1923 to advertise a new housing development in the hills above Hollywood. For several years the sign was left to deteriorate. In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce stepped in and offered to remove the last four letters and repair the rest.

The sign, located at the top of Mount Lee, is now a registered trademark and cannot be used without the permission of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which also manages the venerable Walk of Fame.

The first Academy Awards presentation ceremony took place on May 16, 1929 during a banquet held in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard. Tickets were USD $10.00 and there were 250 people in attendance.

From about 1930, five major Hollywood movie studios from all over the Los Angeles area, Paramount, RKO, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros., owned large, grand theaters throughout the country for the exhibition of their movies. The period between the years 1927 (the effective end of the silent era) to 1948 is considered the age of the "Hollywood studio system", or, in a more common term, the Golden Age of Hollywood. In a landmark 1948 court decision, the Supreme Court ruled that movie studios could not own theaters and play only the movies of their studio and movie stars, thus an era of Hollywood history had unofficially ended. By the mid-1950s, when television proved a profitable enterprise that was here to stay, movie studios started also being used for the production of programming in that medium, which is still the norm today.


Additional references

  • Allen J. Scott (2005) On Hollywood: The Place The Industry, Princeton University Press

See also

External links

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