Nigerian movie industry: Agenda for growth
THE Movie Industry Stakeholders Consultative Retreat, 2004 held at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Lagos, from 11th ? 13th July, 2004. It was organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation. This Retreat was the first of its kind to be organized by the industry, and the very first of its kind in the industry. Industry practitioners, from all parts of the country, were in full attendance.
The Retreat was declared open by the Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu on Sunday, 11th July 2004. Goodwill messages were taken from heads of associations and guilds.
The theme of the Retreat: The Nigerian Movie Industry: Agenda for the Future was broken into five sub-themes:
The Nigerian Movie Industry in the 21st Century: Standards and Challenges.
The Burden of social Responsibility: Impact of Movie on Civil Society
Policy and Regulatory Environment in Nigeria
Motion Picture Distribution & Marketing , and
The Business of Modern Movie: Finance & Venture Capital.
Each sub-theme was discussed by a syndicate group in plenary session ran simultaneously. On the whole, some thirty papers were presented.
The following observations were made:
I. The wide disconnect between the policy/legal environment and the actual world of production.
2. Lack of access to institutional funding in the industry
3. The absence of a professional book to ensure the existence and/or enforcement of all necessary regulatory mechanism.
4. The lack of proper co-ordination in the activities of all government film agencies.
5. The lack of implementation of the provisions of the National Film Policy
6. The undue emphasis on censorship instead of classification.
7. The bottle neck/limited sources in the downstream sectors of
distribution and exhibition
8. The very high incidence of copyright violation in the Nigeria film culture
9. Lack of access to information on existing bi-lateral/cultural relations between Nigeria and other countries.
10. The absence of professionalism with the negligible pool/reservoir of experience in the industry.
11. The inundation of Nigerian television screen by foreign adverts and programmes produced outside the country.
In the light of the foregoing observations, the following recommendations were made:
1. The review of all existing policies and legislation to make them more responsive to the dynamics of the industry.
The establishment of a Film Fund ? essentially for the funding of those kinds of films in the film policy ? Le., films that sell the Nigerian project.
The establishment of enabling structure for government ? private sector funding initiative in the industry.
3. To take advantage of what is already on the ground at the Nigeria Film Corporation and immediately establish a Practitioners Council for the motion picture industry. This will automatically ensure the alignment of the motion picture industry to the larger industrial sub-sector of the economy
4. To strengthen both the institutional framework in the industry and practice of the motion picture, the provision of the National Film Policy should be given legal teeth and thereby made binding.
5. For proper co-ordination, all agencies of government involved in the industry should come under one umbrella. In the interim, where there is a conflict/overlap in their junction, the relevant provision/s in the National Film Policy should prevail.
6. That the status of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) be reviewed with a view to making them more industry relevant and friendly.
7. To increase the quality and quantity of films in circulation;
Government should establish a national dedicated television channel for Nigerian movies: a national channel run entirely on and exclusively for Nigerian movies
Each television station in the country to be compelled by legislation to produce at least one cine film per year.
8. The urgent need to review and improve copyright enforcement procedures and punishment
9. Government should enter into bi-lateral agreement to foster international co-operations in training, production and distribution:
access to information on such agreement to be made available to practitioners.
10.To maximise available and latent opportunities in the industry, practitioners must ensure that they are trained and that they professionalize.
11.All commercials and adverts for airings on Nigerian Television screen must be produced and shot in local studios, using local talents.
The practitioners commended the Honourable Minister of Information and National Orientation, Chief Chukwuemeka Chikelu for initialising this Consultative Retreat; and expressed the hope that such a forum will be institutionalised.