Though the entertainment industry is growing so fast and many people are not only becoming smart, but have started waking up to the business side of the industry particularly the motion picture sector popularly known as Nollywood, which is the third largest movie producing industry in the world after Hollywood of America and Bollywood of India.
However, it has been observed that film production in Rivers State, the Treasure Base of Nigeria lags behind that of other states like Lagos, Enugu and now Delta where not less than 10 films are produced daily, making huge revenue for these states and providing employment opportunities for their youths.
This slow pace of development of the industry has remained a source of embarrassment to some concerned indigenous practitioners, because Rivers State has comparative advantage over them. Apart from the fact that the state has good locations to shoot films, world class hotels and other entertainment outlets, abundant potentials and intelligence to compete favourably with their counterparts in the industry, most top movie makers, actors and actresses as well as some of the notable practitioners in the country, passed through the state on their way to stardom.
Speaking on the state of movie making in Rivers State, a seasoned entertainer, managing director of African Movie Producers Limited Port Harcourt, Mrs Vickky Eeen attributed it to lack of recognition of the importance of movie making and the role of practitioners in the overall development of the state hence the lack of investment, in the sector as a result, the state loses the opportunity to make money from the industry and generate employment opportunities for the youths.
The actress and singer who disclosed this while speaking with nigeriafilms.com recently, said the snail speed development of the industry is unfortunate as even countries like America, India, South Africa Kenya, Ghana etc. invest hugely in film making and entertainment generally and the revenue they get in return as well as other benefits are enormous.
The state executive of Association of Movie Production (AMP) in Rivers State said the poor state of the industry necessitated the recent concerted efforts being made by AMP to seek assistance from the state government, organised private sector and stakeholders to invest in the industry in order to boost its activities and make it more viable.
Vickky, as she is popularly known by her close friends and associates, said she decided to improve on the situation through her personal efforts by establishing the African film production training centre at N0 4 Olodu Street Off Olu Obasanjo Road Port Harcourt where she trains students in various aspects of entertainment, including film production and directing, acting, chorography, script writing, music recording, modeling etc not only to move the entertainment industry forward but to empower the restive youths of Niger Delta, refocus their mind set, make them self sufficient and disciplined members of the society.
The Ikwerre, Rivers State born director, producer, script writer and dancer said since inception, the school has graduated over 100 students and has the capacity to train over 10,000 youths in their chosen careers in the industry. She maintained that some of the grandaunds have gainful employment in various entertainment outfits including Siver bird. Others have featured in movies, TV Reality shows, Soap Operas, and as students have produced a movie titled “Seal of Salvation which she directed; while some of her models have competed in various modeling shows both in the national and international levels.
The ex-student of University of Port Harcourt where she obtained a Diploma and graduate of Mass Communication, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) said the school insists on standards, discipline and character development and boasts of reputable resource persons drawn from within the country, America, UK, South Africa, Ghana etc, adding that those who excelled in character development are sent abroad for further training and employment.
On her exploits in the entertainment industry, the beautiful and amiable lady of many parts, revealed that she started acting from secondary school, at Port Harcourt Township School, Borokiri, later worked briefly at the Rivers State Council for Arts and Culture and Rivers State Television (RSTV), where she met people like Comish Ekiye, Hilda Dokubo and others. She has also written over 2000 scripts some of which are being used by producers today.
Vickky has also featured in many movies including “Mixed Multitude,” (2001), co-produced ‘Indecent proposal’ (2003) and is currently working on a new movie. The athlete also has a debut album stressing that she was inspired by Onyeka Onwenu, Ivon Chaka Chaka and ‘Mama Africa’ Marian Makebe.
The movie maker and trainer maintained that despite the challenges facing the entertainment industry in Rivers State, she has decided to remain in the state to salvage the industry instead of looking for greener pastures in other states as some of her colleagues from the state have done.