Amiable Peace Anyiam Osigwe, the workaholic honcho of the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), is one practitioner/stakeholder who is exceedingly passionate about Nollywood and how it could get better. Speaking at a recent forum, put together by the organizers of the recently held AMP Eko international film festival, she made it clear that
Nollywood started out of sheer determination and enterprising spirit of Nigerians. Adding that in about 16 years of its chequered existence, it has become a global phenomenon and recently ranked number two in terms of quantity of production by UNESCO.
Peace further posited that despite the lack of institutional supports from government and the private sector, the industry continued to move on, thus bringing honours and accolades to Nigeria. Maintaining that Nollywood has become the biggest cultural export from Nigeria, as the only positive news about Nigeria globally is Nollywood. She mentioned her experience in India where she went to attend the TED conference, a forum for young leaders across the world. The filmmaker noted that about 1,000 delegates at the conference wanted to know more about Nigerian movie stars.
She attributed the current state of the industry, where everything is at the lowest ebb, as a result of failure by the government institutions with statutory support to grow and develop the industry in doing their jobs. In her words: “Government officials are only interested in getting money on behalf of the industry and spending it on projects and initiatives that do not lend any serious support to the industry.”
She also charged her movie professionals to up their game through capacity building, saying that the quality of films being produced in Nigeria must be improved upon if the market and sponsors must take practitioners seriously. Osigwe, further decried the level of acrimony within the industry, saying this will not help the industry to grow. She charged guilds within the industry to work together to promote the industry’s well-being, adding that peer review was critical in making good films. She also urged filmmakers to always exchange notes and information as this would help in production of films that will be box office hits.
On sponsorship and private sector funding, the AMAA boss called on private sector and government at all levels to invest in Nollywood, as it is capable of promoting the image of Nigeria better than any other sector. She said art and cultural exports of Nigeria must be supported. She decried the situation where corporate Nigeria and multinationals are quick to cough millions of dollar to sponsor projects and shows that do not add value to Nigerian art/culture industry.