Weekly Review’s EMMANUEL AGOZINO, TONY OKUYEME and MOSES KADIRI went to seek the views of key operators in Nollywood on the aftermath of the Censors’ Boards New Distribution Framework. Excerpts:
Andy Chikwendu (Director/Producer)
I think the new distribution framework is a still born. It died before it was born. The industry unfortunately, did not allow the new distribution frame work to take shape. We must also note that the NFVCB made some mistakes. Because, it was not enough to throw out the baby with the bathe water. But the result is more devastating now. The industry has collapsed. There is no distribution frame work. It is not functional. I think everybody should go back to the drawing board, and get all the parties involved to make appropriate inputs – respecting everybody’s considered opinion, respecting the regulations and the regulators realising the fact that there has been an industry. The industry came before the Board.
I think if we are able to do this thing, first, that frame work can work. And create an industry of our dream. It is not about poor implementation. If you say poor implementation, you are pushing the blame on one side. The industry also has a lot of blame. So it is not about poor implementation.
Olu Jacobs (Star Actor/Producer)
It is unfortunate. The National Film and Video Censors Board means well for the industry but it needs to bring everybody on board. Where the greatest problem lies, in my perspective, is marketing and distribution. And it all starts with the banks. The major problems are the banks. The banks have been very deceitful. They only favour some people against others. They even make things difficult. They make loans and other financial facilities available to those they prefer to deal with. But for others, they will ask you to go and bring collateral that you cannot pay. This is just to ensure that they scare people away. Those who do not have such connections are left to carry their cross like that. And as you know, no single individual can meet up alone after paying the stipulated amount required. This is why you see that in the last few year now, it has affected many practitioners in the industry. Many cannot produce more than one or two movies because in a year it is practically difficult. This development has affected a lot of actors.
Those who are good are not getting the necessary support. If stakeholders want the industry to move forward, the banks should change from that policy. I think that we should begin to look at the idea how we can make things easier for everyone including the up-and-coming actors and actresses. We need to start coming together and ensuring that there is a good system of marketing and distribution for the industry. This is one way we all can help to move forward.
Foss Nwadike a.k.a Dr. Foss (Director)
We don’t have a film distribution organ or company in Nigeria for now. What we have are bunches of film vendors and pirating cliques who are not ready to help the producers. Rather, they would ruin them down or even open prison doors for them.
The distribution network in Nigeria is not at perfect level. It is not even what it is supposed to be. Imagine where you have about 10,000 copies of films to sell in a country of over 150 million people like Nigeria. Even at that, marketers will wake up and say they were unable to sell the 10,000. So, that market is not moving well. No matter how bad or good a film is, it is supposed to sell at least 200,000 copies on the week of outing. But because the distribution network is not networking, fine, the man that is selling in Lagos will tell you that the film market is hindered by one factor or the other. That you only need to produce and sell in Lagos.
Marketers do not have a way of relating to one another on an honest ground let alone the film makers. That is the problem.
Assuming one person who claims to be a major or key distributor takes, for instance, somebody in Onitsha somebody in Aba, be sure that these people will come out honest, then what stops the person on the first instance of producing about 50,000 copies?
The other problem is the absence of enough advertisement like posters to tell that this is a new film. Those communication vehicles are no longer there. So, how would a non-industry person know that a new film has come out? The person would not know and would not buy such film.
You cannot imagine a so called marketer that cannot afford to print 20,000 copies of a new film. In Nigeria, where we have a population of above 150 million people, they don’t have blue prints on film marketing and distribution. Where one excels is a terrain where he has knowledge.
The government on her part is obssesed by its ‘Fire Bridge’ approach to policy execution. You cannot lump marketers together without adequate education or enlightenment on at least what causes the confusion. He should be effectively linked with the consumer to be able to distribute well. A policy that does not do that will be dead before its arrival. So, the Film and Video Censors Board should wake up with workable policies for Nollywood.
Things has really changed in the film industry, in the 1980’s we used to produce what we called in the East Akalaka Adamma. We did part one to seven. We were airing it on TV and marketers were on us, we did not know they were making so much from it until one December one of them came and gave us N30,000. It was after two years that the film Living in Bondage came out, Living in Bondage caught-in on the sensitization we did with Akalaka Adamma.
Emeka Ike (Star Actor)
Many people complain on the distribution network of films in the country. My view is that film distributors should look at the alternative means of getting the films to the consumers.
The way they are going about it now, films never get to all who they should get to. There is therefore the need for film distributors to strengthen their network. They should look at the on-line method of distributing films, like what is done in the United States where the distribution network is done online and people who want to watch such films pay a certain fee. I think that is what Nigerian film distributors should take a clue from. With the web, there is a lot of distribution going around. That, I think Nigerians should adopt, and when we are looking at the Internet, we should look at broadband speed, this will make the distribution of films over the Internet faster and more accessible. Nigerians should go into web distribution.
Fidelis Duker (Producer)
To an extent, the distribution network has helped to improve the content of films. You cannot just conclude that it has helped or not. What I would rather say is that we have not been able to perfect the structures. Government have tried to introduce some things, the practitioners who are trying to perfect some things are still working on some of them. At the end of the day it would work.
On whether the New Distribution Framework has led to a dip in the industry, I would say, It has not led to a dip in the film industry. Before now, the industry would have collapsed without the distribution frame work because we change things everyday. This is the first time we are doing different kind of productions. People are looking at it to improve the quality of films in the country. There are 22 distributors including, Box Office, Silverbird, and others.
It is a pity that the framework came at the time when the law was going to happen in the sector.