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A Revolution to Determine the Future of Nollywood

By Al-Amin Ciroma

The Abuja International Film Festival is an annual fiesta and one of the biggest events celebrating the motion picture industry in Nigeria. The theme of this year's festival, "The Future of Nollywood" is auspicious and timely. by Al-Amin Ciroma

It is affiliated to four major international festivals: Durban International Film Festival, Dahlegona International Film Festival, Georgia, Zimbabwe International Film Festival and Commonwealth International Film Festival.

It captures the mood of the market today and draws greatly from the vision of all professional bodies and government parastatals in the country. The type of revolution being experienced by Nigeria today is what is required by Nollywood for its future development a commitment to charting a progressive course in the area of qualitative production, marketing and distribution mechanism, because today what you find is a production industry that is in the hands of few, a non-existent marketing industry and a distribution that is largely informal.

Stakeholders, both local and international, storm the nation's capital to showcase their products and also explore the 5

The festival director, Fidelis Dukers, in his speech said the event would serve as convergence of filmmakers, government and the public to discuss, screen and exhibit films on the motion picture industry in Nigeria and the international arena.

Fidelis Duker added that in identifying our greatest challenge which is the future of Nollywood, our ability to sustain the viability and acceptance of Nollywood by all remained very important to the growth of the industry. He urged Nigerians to support the recently introduced distribution framework of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), the anti-piracy fight of the NCC and the MOPICON blue print of NFC as part of the route towards a sustainable future for Nollywood.

In a chat with the Chairman of MOPPAN, Kaduna State, Malam Abdullahi Maikano Usman, he stated the objectives of MOPPAN which, according to him, is to promote films in the northern part of Nigeria and access the nation as a whole. The association also brings together film practitioners in the northern part of the country for better and quality production.

He said: "Film business in the North has come a very long way. Those days, it was difficult and producers hardly could break even, but now, people make a lot of money because the market has expanded and the quality of production has improved. Now digital cameras are used for production, then it was almost like toy cameras that were used for production".

"As a producer, I want us to be better than what we are today to be able to produce a film that can sell all over the world. I want to see Hausa films selling and competing alongside other films internationally. Film is a universal language, whether Hausa, Igbo, Chinese, English, etc. we speak the same language.

"Producers need to access how far their films have gone in the North, West, East and Southern part of Nigeria, Africa and the world as a whole, that is when you can actually be fulfilled as a producer."

When asked about the future of Kannywood, Maikano said: "The future of Kannywood is bright. Talking about the market, somebody would produce a film, sell it just in Kano and within one week, nobody talks about the film again, but he feels satisfied that he has arrived. Apart from Al-Amin Ciroma and Dr.Ahmed Sasari, to the best of my knowledge, I don't know if any other producer has traveled abroad to market his movies."

In an interaction with a senior film production officer in Kano Censor Board, Malam Balarabe Musa Muhammad, he said the board registers film production companies and cinemas, promote film producers, give them internship training for two to three months. It also sponsors film up to 15 producers. The Censor Board also hires out production equipment at lower prices to producers.

Malam Balarabe also admits that the relationship between the Censor Board and the producers is cordial. "We work hand in hand for the growth of the industry", he said.

In the words of the managing director of Nollywood Concepts Promotions, Mr. Bond Emeruwa, "Nollywood shouldn't be compared with Hollywood or Bollywood because its target audience is different, which is Africa and the Caribbeans". The day we try to copy Hollywood or Bollywood, we are finished, because the cultures are different. Nollywood should stick to their originality though have to work hard in the production and training aspect".

Bond said Nigerian film makers and practitioners should participate more in events like this, because it is an avenue to showcase their films and learn more about the industry from other people that have come from far and wide. There will be another such event in Egypt, the Cairo Film Festival which will be held from 18

A top delegation from the Northern film stakeholders, including the President, Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), Malam Sani Mu'azu, the chairman MOPPAN, Kaduna State, Malam Abdullahi Maikano Usman, and the delegation of the Kano State Censor Board, Malam Balarabe Musa Muhammad, were also at the event. th to 28th November, 2008.