The governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, is confident the Nollywood film industry can become a cash cow for Nigeria if stakeholders play their cards right and maximise obvious opportunities.
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He told filmmakers at a mixer in Lagos State on Sunday, October 15, 2023 that the creative industry is the perfect vehicle for Nigeria’s goals of diversifying the economy.
The governor noted that Nigeria is the dominant market on a continent whose share in the entertainment industry is rapidly growing globally. He said organising the industry properly would ensure great benefits for potentially many creators who can export content better than is already happening.
“If we go at this rate, with what is happening in the fossil fuel and hydrocarbon industry, the returns from film will be bigger than oil. Where does that money go to? Not to a few big companies but to hundreds and millions of participants in the industry,” the 66-year-old told journalists.
Obaseki said the government has an important role to play, by supporting creators and nurturing the industry to become more profitable.
Sunday’s mixer was organised ahead of the second edition of the Edo State International Film Festival (ESIFF) which will take place in Benin City between November 30 and December 2. Over 3,000 films were submitted from 126 countries, with the most entries coming from Nigeria, Iran, India, the United States and Brazil.
The governor said the festival and a planned film village in the capital city show the state’s eagerness to compete in the film space. He invited stakeholders to see Edo as a hub for their productions, promising an abundance of local talent and infrastructure.
Enugu CP Assures On Security As Nollywood Producers Tour Film Facilities, Locations
The Commissioner of Police, Enugu State Command, Mr. Anayo Uzuegbu, has assured the Nollywood industry of security in line with Dr. Peter Mbah administration’s determination to make Enugu the premier destination for business, investment, tourism, and living.
The CP gave the assurance when Nollywood producers led by the Chairman of the Enugu State Tourism Board paid him a courtesy visit in the course of their tour of film-shooting facilities and locations in the state.
“I can assure you that the security concerns have been seriously dealt with due to the support given to the State Police Command and other security agencies by the current administration to rid Enugu State of criminal elements. That is the crackdown on crime and criminality you must have been reading in the papers.
“I was also opportune to launch the pilot scheme of the Distress Response Squad last August. The full complements of the DRS, which is being set up by the governor, will comprise well over hundred hi-tech patrol vehicles with security surveillance cameras capable of facial and number plate recognition. From the Command and Control Centre, which the government has almost completed, we will monitor the entire state and be able to deploy security resourses to preempt and solve crimes with ease at the speed of light”, he stated.
Also speaking when he took the Nollywood producers and the State Tourism Board on a tour of the facilities of the Enugu State Television (ETV), including the studios, the Managing Director of the Enugu State Broadcasting Service, ESBS, Mr. Ladi Akeredolu-Ale, assured of the readiness of the organisation to partner with the Nollywood through the provision of quality studios and sets for movie productions.
He said the Mbah administration was determined to turn around the facilities in line with the government’s policy to convert the state’s dormant assets to productive assets.
Meanwhile, the Executive Chairman of the State Tourism Board, Dame Rita Mbah, said the tour, which took the Nollywood producers to other locations like the Nike Lake Resort, Ezeagu cave, waterfall and lake, Enugu Unity Park, and the historic state secretariat complex, among others, was part of the build-up to not only restore the state’s position as the home of Nollywood, but also the Nigerian creative industry in line with Governor Mbah’s $30 billion economy target.
“We all know the worth of the Nollywood and the potential of the creative industry, which is one of the key sectors to drive this expected $30 billion growth target
“If you check the governor’s manifesto, he has plans to build the Enugu Films and Movies Academy for training and upskilling our people in various aspects of the film industry. He plans to build the Enugu Film City that will compete with the best in the world. That is how serious he is about this aspect of the creative industry.
“For a start, we want to ensure that Nollywood returns to their home, Enugu State; and they have seen our facilities and locations. They have seen government policies and programmes and what the governor is doing with infrastructure, security, and other enablers. They are highly impressed and encouraged”, she stated.
Pat On The Back As ‘Madam Koi-Koi’ Hits Netflix
By Sewedo Nupowaku
I would like to congratulate my friends and collaborators, Jay Franklyn Jituboh and Michael W. Ndiomu with their crew, including my kinsman, Saveo Viyon , on the premiere of their horror thriller, The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi, on Netflix, this very day of All Hallows Eve.
It has been, as they say, a long time coming.
I met Jay during the 2015 Lagos ComicCon and since then, he has helped found a daring, thriving audio-visual studio in the heart of Lagos. Mike, a feisty, fiercely motivated, thundering typhoon of a man, was an accomplished investment banker before deciding to join Nollywood. Where Jay persuades, Michael pulverizes. And between our grey-flecked, writer/director Tintin and our hard-going Niger-Delta Captain Haddock,, another blistering barnacle of a movie has been made, one that seeks, in it’s own way, to advance Nollywood’s current adventure in global recognition waters.
Madam Koi-Koi (or Lady Koi-Koi in some other parts of Africa) is an urban legend, up there with the satanically sniveling Bush Babies, luring unsuspecting, sympathetic victims into the woods with their hypnotic bawling or The Oni Gom’gom, a Yoruba Bogeyman, out to visit and victimize kids who dare to remain awake past their bedtimes. And then, there are the Karishika and Mami Wata stories.
The trans-continental story of Koi Koi is rather tragic but a popular version is one that revolves around an avenging ghost that announces its presence with the cold, creepy, clickety-clacking of her dainty shoes, the very ones she was murdered in. The story goes that she walks the earth, a violent, vigilante of vengeance, dishing out comeuppance to souls with evil motivation and machinations, and presumably, as she was a teacher when she was alive, haunt the halls of delinquent boarding school students.
I attended boarding school and as I watched the story unfold at the screening organized yesterday at the Filmhouse cinema at Landmark Centre,6 memories, both hilarious and harrowing, came flooding back. The movie itself explores how our society treats the weak and the vulnerable and how people will resort to unconventional and often unpredictable means to seek redress once constituted authority is unable to provide necessary justice. The cinematography is deliciously haunting, the score is well-appointed. Jude Chukwuka grounds the bizarre goings-on with his trademark gravitas, Ireti Doyle tries her valiant best with her Yoruba and the relative new comers shine. Especially Chuks Joseph. I believe the movie will rack up a lot of engagement across Africa for the antecedents of the subject alone, never mind the nostalgia factor that should bring in older folks with the younger demographic.
Speaking of nostalgia, younger viewers should6 be pleased to know that Nigerians used to have a healthy appetite for scary movies. From the sombre music and supernatural magic of Ogunde’s epics to the delightful dread of acclaimed television movies and series as Jimi Odumosu ‘s relentlessly bleak Evil Encounter to Tade Ogidan’s Reign of Abiku and NTA’s scarefests- Pot of Life, Lynx and Wily Wily, our producers did their best at horror thrillers. Alas, the real life horror of the country’s economy happened. And those sort of fare weren’t fun anymore.
But it seems the good times are gradually coming back. Horror movies are in Blum! At least, on Netflix, they continue to be in rude health at the moment. Jason Blum, James Wan, Mike Flanagan…all doing the Lord’s work. The Fall of the House of Usher, a superbly made ‘Nollywood’ series, has,6 been a particular standout, this year. And now, my boys here have joined the fray. Jay and Not-So-Silent Mike intend to create their own universe around these urban legends by crafting origin stories for them. The three of us have collaborated on a film story, going before the cameras shortly and it is very likely, the scary sequels might be next. We eatin’ good.
Go watch The Origin: Madam Koi-Koi now! The first part drops today and the explosive conclusion berths a week after. Let me know what you think. Happy Halloween. Heh.
**Nupowaku, a stakeholder in the film industry, is the Chuef Creative Officer at RevolutionnMedia
Nollywood Has No Tribe By Fidelis Duker
In recent weeks after my article on THE NEW YORUBA FILM INDUSTRY: FROM VHS TO NETFLIX AND CINEMA, a significant event has taken place in the Nigerian film industry popularly called Nollywood especially the media space.
In my article i tried to explain that the release of the highly-acclaimed movie, Jagun Jagun, marks an intentional evolutionary phase akin to what Living in Bondage accomplished in 1992.
Unfortunately, instead of celebrating this remarkable achievement, some individuals have chosen to turn it into an unnecessary ethnic war, questioning who truly started Nollywood and who holds ownership rights; thus exhibiting their ignorance on Nollywood.
It is disheartening to witness such tribalistic tendencies overshadowing the developmental growth of Nollywood. The original intention behind my article on Jagun Jagun and other films mentioned was simply to celebrate the general success of the Nigerian film industry on the global scene. This intentional evolutionary phase in Nollywood represents a significant milestone in its journey towards recognition and acceptance worldwide. It should be noted that the film Amina by Okechukwu Ogunjiofor had made significant impact on Netflix too.
Nollywood has undoubtedly become a force to be reckoned with in the global film industry. Over the years, it has garnered international acclaim and attracted a diverse audience. This popularity has paved the way for numerous talented filmmakers and actors to showcase their skills and creativity, further enhancing the industry’s reputation.
Rather than engaging in futile debates about who owns Nollywood or who deserves credit for its inception, it is crucial to acknowledge and appreciate the collective efforts that have propelled the industry to its current state. The success of Nollywood is a result of the dedication, hard work, and talent of numerous individuals, both past and present.
Let us remember that Nollywood belongs to all Nigerians, irrespective of tribe, ethnicity, or regional affiliations. It is a collective achievement that should unite us in pride and celebration. Instead of fueling unnecessary divisions, let us focus on nurturing and supporting the growth of Nollywood, ensuring that it continues to achieve even greater heights on the global stage.
The success witnessed through Jagun Jagun, Amina, Anikulapo and others should be seen as a stepping stone towards further excellence in our homegrown film industry. It is a reminder of the immense potential and talent that exists within Nollywood and an invitation for all stakeholders to collaborate, innovate, and create more groundbreaking content.
As we move forward, let us set aside our ignorance, misinformation, tribalism and ethnocentrism, embracing unity and inclusivity as we continue to witness the blossoming success of Nollywood. Only through cooperation and mutual support can we ensure that this intentional evolutional phase becomes a catalyst for even greater achievements within the Nigerian film industry.
**Duker, a filmmaker and Media practitioner, writes from Calabar
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