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OPINION: We Must Stop Fooling Ourselves From Nollywood To Kannywood

BY MICHAEL CHIMA EKENYERENGOZI

Is it not an international embarrassment that there is no single film commission in Nigeria? Not a single film treaty with any country. And the so-called stakeholders in the Nollywood and Kannywood are quick to brag about being the second largest producer of movies in the world, making 1000 movies every year; they must have included home videos of their “Owambe” parties, birthdays and weddings.

The National Film and Video Censors Board has no standard website and does only half of what it is established to do.

Almost all the countries in the world have film commissions and film commissioners and many of them have signed film treaties. South Africa has signed eight film treaties so far.

We love to brag about the quantity of our home videos that don’t qualify for major competitions at international film festivals and awards. We end up jumping up and down when Nollywood is announced as one of the side attractions outside the main competitions. And at the end of the day we return without securing any film acquisition for major distribution after decades of going to the major international film festivals. We failed to have the corporate structure of a real film industry. In 90 years of filmmaking in Nigeria since 1926 to date, no Nigerian film has made official selections at the Cannes, Venice or qualified for the Academy Awards, because we have failed to do things right. And opportunists prefer to take advantage of the disorderliness and shortcomings of the Nigerian film industry for their typically Nigerian get-rich-quick schemes and scams under all sorts of labels and tags.

We need film commissions in Nigeria. Every state, including Abuja should have a film commission. The best example of a film commission in Africa are the KwaZulu Natal and Gauteng Film Commissions in South Africa.

The Nigerian Film Corporation can help with establishment of film commissions following the guidelines of the Association of Film Commissioners International (AFCI), the official professional organization for film commissioners who assist film, television, and video production across the globe. The AFCI is a non-profit educational association whose members serve as city, county, state, regional, provincial, or national film commissioners in their respective governmental jurisdictions. There are more than 300 AFCI-Member Film Commissions on six continents.

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This post first appeared on Michael Chima Ekenyerengozi’s Facebook wall and it is published here with the author’s permission.

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