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The invitation, which came by text message, said the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) CEO, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, would like to have a parley with journalists in Lagos, but the gathering turned out to be with the Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations (CONGA), of which she is an integral part. Anyiam-Osigwe has been in the forefront of drumming up not just support for the Nigerian movie industry, but also working to take it to greater heights. She has rallied her counterparts in order to bring professionalism and sanity into the industry. The gathering with the press was to announce a series of workshops to be undertaken by the various movie guilds to build capacity. Anyiam-Osigwe, who is the president of AMAA, told the gathering that all the guilds would be involved in workshops starting with the Directors’ Guild of Nigeria (DGN) from September 17 to 19 in Lagos. The workshop for the Screen Writers’ Guild of Nigeria (SWGN) will hold a week after in Enugu, the Enugu State capital while it will be the turn of the Creative Designers Guild of Nigeria (CDGN) from October 14 – 17. Other guilds will also have theirs at different dates. She said further: “As part of the workshops for the guilds, the African Film Academy (AFC), under whose support the workshop will be holding, hopes to make three short films. For this reason there has been a call for entries of scripts for the films which are expected to be shot and screened at the gala night for the Nigeria @ 50 celebration. The guilds will of course collaborate on the project”. She said that Andy Amenechi, who was present at the briefing, would be involved in choosing the scripts that would emerge. And that the facilitators of the workshop would fly in from the United States of America (U.S.A.). “Someone will be coming in to train the marketers’ association this time around. He is going to be talking about knowing your audience. The marketers will have the opportunity to interact with him on the new digital methods of distribution, how they can know their audience? This is the first time we are doing a workshop for the marketers. We see that this workshop will impact on them positively,” she said. She reiterated that the trainings were under CONGA, the new coalition in Nollywood, and mentioned that the African Film Academy will be making donations to the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN) to help with it projects. Presidents of the DGN, Bond Emeruwa; SWGN, Tony Ani; CDGN, Iyen Agbonifo, were in attendance. Emeruwa threw more light on the workshops, saying that they are a step in the right direction, while the training is free. In the case of that for the DGN, Emeruwa said spaces had been provided for 50 participants, but 10 of the spaces had been reserved while remaining were open. People, he said, have shown tremendous interest since they were made public. “The workshops are in collaboration with the Center for Digital Imaging Arts of the Boston University in the U.S.A.,” he said. He explained that Franco Sacchi and Robert Caputo among others, would be the facilitators in the workshop. He said everything, no matter how trivial, would be covered, and that there would be pitching sessions at the end of the workshop so that those who have been trained can begin to put it to good use. Movie directors, Andy Amenechi and Kingsley Omoefe, were also present at the gathering. They lent their support to the training project and the new direction Nollywood is taking. On August 5, the official signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by CONGA took place and if the aim of the coalition is to uphold ethics and professionalism in the movie industry, then CONGA can be said to be doing very well in that direction. Not only is it involved in training like the ongoing workshops, it has the different guilds in the movies speaking with one voice. Guilds that took part in the MOU signing ceremony include: the DGN, Association of Movie Producers of Nigeria (AMP), the AGN, Nigerian Society of Cinematographers (NSC), SWGN, CDGN, and the Nigeria Society of Editors (NSE). Others are the Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN), the Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), and the Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners (ANTP). The official signing of the MOU was witnessed by many observers, including Chief Segun Olusola, a veteran theatre practitioner, and the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, an accomplished playwright/film scholar, who was one of the special guests of honour, represented by Assistant Director/Head, Corporate Affairs, Lagos Liaison Office, Mr. Ohi Ojo
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