FG USES NOLLYWOOD AS MERE PR TOOL —IFEANYI
A top movie financier in Nollywood, Mr. Ifeanyi Ezekwe has taken a swipe at the Federal government of Nigeria for what it termed its lip service approach to the issues of developing the local movie industry.
“The Nigerian government is only using Nollywood to make noise and propagate its image abroad. They are not investing nor have they provided the enabling environment for investors to thrive on,” he says.
This, according to him has been the reason why marketers only think about their profit whenever they invest in a project without really considering the wellbeing of the totality of the industry. “I do not blame them, they are businessmen and they want to recoup their investments”, he noted during a chat with Trend'tainment in Lagos.
Speaking on the ranking of Nollywood as the third largest movie industry in the world, issues of artistes' welfare and the much criticized exploitation of the industry by all and sundry, he said:
“The problem is more of administrative problem, on the part of producers, markers and the government. We do not have the structure that would make it possible to say; look I am going to make one film this year, then reap from that one film and invest in other areas and have time to think of what to do. It might surprise you to know that a 75 year old film maker in France, for instance, all his life, from when he was 20 years old, he has been making films and he has made only six films and he is now 75 years old. He is very rich, comfortable. He has a yatch chained by the sea side.”
“So in Nigeria, if people say Nollywood is the third largest film producing industry, they are talking in terms of popularity, in terms of number of employment. In terms of number of films churned out. Nollywood has created a lot of employment. Ranging from producers, directors, cameramen, editors, costumiers, production assistants, actors, drivers and so on. It is a whole gamut of opportunity in terms of employment. But in terms of financial benefits to the real practitioners, this is where the problem is.”
He admitted that some practitioners are doing well, while others are not.
“A lot of the actors are doing well, while a larger number of them are also not doing well.
“What we really require is to have the proper distribution structure in place, so that if you make one film and you are able to sell 20,000 copies and you know you are making N5 or N1 per copy. You can invest your money somewhere else while waiting for the next job. We don't have a correct data of the copies of films we sell in a year. So it is a big administrative problem.
“Distribution of films in Nigeria has not worked because government has refused to allow the enabling environment for films sales to thrive,” he told Trend'tainment.
Commenting on the attempt by government through the censors' board to formulate the now seemingly forgotten, formula, which the marketers kicked against, he said: “The marketers are businessmen and in business you think about personal interest before anything else. You always ask, what is in it for me, before I can talk about the next person. Can I get fat on this person's ingenuity and pay him what I think in my opinion is his worth.
“This attitude has become typical of our marketers, but it is a very wrong approach to doing business.
“The new films distribution formula is unique, but I am afraid, the hawks amongst our marketers would not allow it to work.