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Eulogy For The Nigerian Film Industry

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Posted: Aug 28, 2016 at 4:52 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
XPRESSION…With John Njamah
john.njamah@me.com; +2348033292072For the next few week, months or even years (as the case may be), you are … will be stuck with me in this little corner I will like to call XPRESSION. In here I will relay my worries, concerns, suggestions, observations, criticism etc. we will (yes WE… because I cannot do this on my own) touch on entertainment, the film industry, music, art, photography, poetry and maybe stroll into the politics of the industry (when necessary) especially as it affects the creative minded individuals within and outside the country.
I will like to say congratulations to the nine ‘Lagos based’ movies that made it to the Toronto international film festival (TIFF).. The somewhat steady growth of the movie industry is no doubt very encouraging (even if we know it is not where it should be). With little or no funding whatsoever from the government, the journey has been bumpy (I can tell you that). However, there seems to be a breather. The cinemas have opened up to Nigerian films (even if most of the Nigerian films they show are questionable), it is still a step towards the right direction. Truth be told… I have seen better Nigerian telemovies on television and video on demand (VOD) compared to a few that find their ways into the cinemas.. so how are these movies determined? What is (are) the selection process(es)? For cinema distribution, are the viewers taken into cognisance?
Generally, when your movie makes it to the cinema it should spell out cash in the bank… well guess what?… it is not!.. How much can be made when your film stays just about a month or two at the cinema with a revenue allocation and or sharing formula of 70/30 or at most 60/40 if your film is EXTREMELY good and enjoys a huge publicity by the producers. The regulatory process (if any) does not cover or protect the film producers and our failed Guild system have done NOTHING to correct this… so don’t think we make so much money WHEN OUR MOVIES MAKE SO MUCH MONEY. So when you compare a group of individual independent film makers in Nigeria (Nollywood) to the film makers abroad with big studios and huge monies to spend… I would say Nollywood deserves a pat at the back.
It is very difficult to criticise an industry that is not an industry (my colleagues might shoot me for this) but we need to tell ourselves the truth. Nollywood (I hate that name by the way) has thrived on the sweat of individuals that are passionate about what they do for the past twenty five years or thereabout with no structure or organisation, we make so much money that we can’t see and, who takes the glory?…
When the honourable Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos state, Steve Ayorinde, talked about the nine ‘Lagos based’ films selected for the Toronto international film festival, I was glad, I had seen a few of the films and I hope things will begin to look up from this point because it’s a huge movement for the Nigerian film industry… I am not too sure about the term he used though labeling the films ‘Lagos based’… however Lagos is Nigeria and if Lagos is projected from this perspective using film as a medium, then maybe other states should emulate our dear amiable uncle Steve.

I will find out and let you know how these films were selected; if it’s by the state government or the individual producers of the film. I think the Lagos State government played a huge role in all of these because the city is also in focus on the festival. So when next you want to shoot Lagos might just be your best bet…Apart from what the city offers, who knows you might make the festival next year.