With Nigeria’s Nollywood emerging as a force in the world, having been rated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the second largest film producer in the world, only coming behind America’s Hollywood and ahead of India’s Bollywood, government, groups and individuals are beginning to take special interest in the industry, especially as it tells the Nigerian and African stories to the world.
It is with a view to making the industry better that producers, captains of industry, showbiz personalities and some government functionaries gathered recently at the National Theatre, Lagos for a workshop on capacity building in film production last week.
Organised by National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and Nollywood Travel Market Ltd (NTM), the collaboration project was aimed at engaging practitioners in refresher courses by way of improving performance and delivery, undertake periodic training to upgrade technical competence, equip relevant personnel with appropriate cultural impetus in characterization, context and role interpretations and to improve on overall package of Nollywood products.
Targeted at persons in the movie industry, especially Nollywood, the NCAC/NTM collaboration brought resource persons from the movie industry, whose works are making waves locally and internationally and as well foreign facilitators from major producers of technical equipments such as Sony, JVC and HP.
These are equipments frequently used in the industry for editing, scripting, cinematography (light, camera and photograph), costume and make-up.
Speaking through a representative, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed said, “Films are undeniably products of culture, therefore we must take active interest in what our films are saying about us, to ourselves and the outside world.
Since our films have become commodities of the whole wide world, judging from the position ascribed to it by UNESCO, and the daily reports we receive about their popularity in Africa and beyond, we must pay closer attention to the representation of our image and heritage contained in our films.
“There is no need repeating the litany of criticisms against some Nollywood films based on their sometimes defective content and poor artistry, as the implication of our gathering is to recognise the imperative of overcoming the shortcomings of the industry through muti-sectoral cooperation”.
Tracing the history of film making in the country from the stage to TV screen, celluloid and the present experience of home video that came into being in the ‘90s, the minister noted that film making in Nigeria has become a thing of pride, as it has made our artistes, producers and others involved in the packaging to contribute to global culture as well as create jobs and generate wealth for the country.
He stated further, “The industry has become so important and so reflective of our creative potentials as a people that government and corporate bodies are presently rising to its needs by intervening in providing support for further development of the industry and to rescue it from the present limitations of private entrepreneurship.
“Recently, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Jonathan announced a $200 million stimulus fund for the entertainment industry, which we hope Nollywood will have access to further its developmental objectives. There are also talks of a Film Fund and a National Endowment Funds for the Arts in government circles, which, if eventually realised, would form part of a stable resource base for a thriving and well focused film industry”.
The Executive Director/CEO National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), M.M. Maidugu informed that the workshop was muted in fulfillment of the council’s vision to promote the nation’s image and socio-economic growth.
He added that it was part of the fallouts of the 2009 7th Honours Lecture Series delivered by Dr. Hyginius Ekwuazi of the University of Ibadan on the topic “The Nigeria Home Video Industry: Living in the Bondage of Wealth Creation’ on which consensus was raised on the need for systemic mediation towards correcting identified flaws of the industry as well as boosting capacity delivery and technical finishing of Nollywood films.
He urged members of the public and private sectors to partner with the Nigerian movie industry to achieve the desired standards of ethical, cultural and artistic perfection of films.
To make those involve in filmmaking across the country but who could not come to Lagos to also gain from it, the NCAC boss said, “The seminar will be replicated in Enugu (December 8-10) and Abuja (December12-14), after which the three locations —Lagos, Enugu and Abuja — would produce and make available to the public three different standard films with each centre producing one as test-run for the seminar.