The Nigerian film industry popularly called Nollywood may be the largest in Africa and third largest in the world for the production of home videos, but it is not the biggest film industry in Africa. South Africa has the biggest film industry in Africa.
The Nigerian film industry is not as organized as the South African film industry that has functional professional bodies with insurance policies.
From Kannywood to Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry does not have any insurance policy.
Project ACT Nollywood has been able to help many filmmakers and film distributors with capacity development of their film production and film distribution companies to qualify for the grants. But it is still the more you look, the less you see in Nollywood and Kannywood.
The South African film industry makes more revenue from the box office than the Nigerian film industry. Oscar winner “Tsotsi” (2005) made over US$9,879,971.
See “The top ten highest grossing films shot in South Africa” on http://www.thesouthafrican.
The highest grossing Nollywood movie so far is Ayo Makun’s “30 Days in Atlanta” that almost made US$1 million from the cinemas in Nigeria, but never got any major distributor even in Atlanta and the rest of America. And it did not escape from piracy. I don’t know if the film producers and distributors have any insurance against piracy.
Film insurance is a billion dollar business. Film insurance covers the following:
-Private or Hired in Equipment cover
-Business Interruption Insurance
-Public liability Insurance
-Employer’s Liability Insurance
-Health Insurance and
Front Row Insurance Brokers, the largest film insurance brokers in Canada have insured in excess of 5 billion dollars worth of production budgets over the last five years, covering film production insurance to cover the risks associated with production for features, television series, docs, commercials, music videos, webisodes and other productions intended to be distributed on mobile devices: any content created by the producer worldwide.
Insurance coverage includes the following:
-Costs associated with death or sickness to your cast
-Damage and loss to your negative or hard drive
-Faulty stock / Faulty camera / Faulty processing
-Props / Sets / Wardrobes
-Filming equipment – loss or damage
-Rented production vehicles
Nigerian actors and actresses don’t have any insurance in case of accidents during productions. I don’t know how many of them even sign legal contracts on productions.
The cases of several actors and producers going broke and bankrupt are common and some have died from poverty and not from the illnesses they suffered. They would not have died if they had good medical treatment in Nigeria or abroad.
In normal film industries, insurance policy is a must for the security and welfare of both cast and crew. But there is none in the Nigerian film industry. The insurance companies don’t even have any relationship with the Nigerian film industry and the film producers seem to be happy that they don’t have to be responsible for the safety of any member of the cast and crew during production.
In fact, some years back in Lagos, whilst on the set of a Nollywood movie in Lekki, the welfare for the cast and crew was in at times in jeopardy. The film producers provided bottled water for the A-List actors, but gave cheap sachets of pure water for the others. Buying snacks and drinks for them was a luxury! They had no trailer or any place to relax and rest in-between shots. Famous Nollywood actor, Francis Duru and I simply rested on the bonnet of a car whilst waiting for the director to call the shots.
There are several others instances of poor welfare for the cast and crew, and insurance coverage is not in any of their contracts.
The professional guilds should demand for insurance for both cast and crew if they want the best for themselves and the sustainable development of the Nigerian film industry.
Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima is Publisher/Editor of Nigerians Report Online, TALK OF THE TOWN By Orikinla, Nigerian Times and NOLLYWOOD MIRROR® SERIES. See more at: https://www.amazon.com/authorekenyerengozimichaelchima and http://www.nigeriansreport.
This article first appeared on Nigerians Report Online and Indiewire.