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French lesson for Nigeria on Nollywood….. splashes N65million on movies and TV series

Posted by By Okoh Aihe, Communications Editor on 2005/06/16 | Views: 834 |

French lesson for Nigeria on Nollywood….. splashes N65million on movies and TV series


THE Nigerian movie industry is heading to the stars with honours coming from within and outside, the most recent one being a whopping N65million sponsorship which the French government splashed on some Nigerian movies and television programmes.

THE Nigerian movie industry is heading to the stars with honours coming from within and outside, the most recent one being a whopping N65million sponsorship which the French government splashed on some Nigerian movies and television programmes.

As if pointing the way on how the business of film ought to be handled by any government, the French government whose country is already producing the highest number of films in Europe, producing 200 feature films per year, is combining two funds to ensure the sponsorship of the various projects.


Interestingly, almost N20million of that money is being given to Nigerian award winning director, Newton Aduaka to direct 'Waiting for an Angel', the latest literary work by another award winner Helon Habila. It will be the first work in Nigeria by Aduaka who is about the only Nigerian to win Fespaco awards back to back.


Other beneficiaries of the French government largesse are renowned movie director, Tunde Kelani for 'The Narrow Path', a TV series; Albert Egbe for 'Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again', an adaptation of late Prof Ola Rotimi’s book of the same title for a TV series; Francis Owonchei with 'Claws of the Lion'; and Ade Adepegba and Ben Zulu for the 'Seven Crossroads'.


Tunde has another sponsorship for 'Dog on a Lion’s Trail' to be shot on celluloid, with the last being Greg Odutayo for 'Tides of Fate'.


Some of these productions, according to a statement from Mr. Pierre Barrot, the Audiovisual Attache of the French Embassy in Nigeria, have been shot while others will be shot in 2005 and 2006.


The two funds that have given these content makers the opportunity to titillate the world with their art are the Fonds Sud and the Fonds Images Afrique. While the first is dedicated to independent film production in Asia, Latin America and Africa, the latter was created by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2003 for upgrading the film industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Barrot explained that the two funds are implemented as part of the policy of the French government in support to the cultural diversity of nations.


In the past few months, quite some glory has come to the Nigerian movie industry. While Amaka Igwe’s 'Best of the Best' attracted industry enthusiasts and sponsors to Sheraton Hotel Abuja for one full week, Peace Ayiam Osigwe’s Africa Movie Academy Awards drew industry practitioners to Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, even attracting the highly celebrated African American star, Danny Glover.


And just two weeks ago, an organisation in Los Angeles honoured the industry, inviting some stars in the process, led by the Nigerian first lady, Mrs Stella Obasanjo, to receive the award on behalf of the industry.


However, the Nigerian government has also been making some feeble progress supposedly in the right direction. Without financial commitment yet after six years of democratic government, the government recently set up a committee to review the country’s film policy. What the civil servants intend to do with that is a different matter.


There also seems to be a kind of competition to organise awards and festivals with the Minister of Information and National Orientation announcing recently that Nigeria will organise the Zuma Film Awards later in the year or early next year. But must government dissipate energy on this? References are made to FESPACO, Sithengi and Cannes Film festivals without thinking of the intention behind those programmes and how they support the policies of the organising governments.


Most Nigerians believe that the government should set up a film fund and put reasonable sum to control content production in Nigeria. The reason is that it is contents that form the daily menu of what people see on TV and this is key to the existence of any country. There is a way this is done and our government at the moment is making pretences while very far away from the target.


But while we are still prevaricating, the French government has come to inform us, most shamefully, that there is something great in Hollywood which all people with a love of culture should support.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.