NOLLYWOOD DESERVES BETTER LEGISLATION --ANDY BEST
The success of the recently concluded award held for actors and actresses who ply their trade in acting in the Nigeria movie industry (Nollywood) in Lagos speaks volume of the nation's achievement in the movie industry.
It is indeed moving the nation's film industry forward, locally and internationally. This is traceable to one of the Pioneer moviemakers Chief Ike Nnadi of the famous Andy Best Production.
Nnadi, an indigene of Imo State stepped into movie production due to troubles he encountered from producers. His production outfit has been on, even before the emergence of Nollywood, he co-produced and marketed Living in Bondage, the monster hit movie that changed and revolutionized Nollywood in 1992. Ever since, his award-wining stable has churned out over a 100 other successful movies with some being shot abroad.
The Imo State born producer, who is bent on didactic messages through his movies, had several hits like Narrow Escape, Catholic Church, War Without End among others and is out with six blockbuster movies in the market.
These included: King of the Town, shot in America and Europe, Life Abroad, The Biggest Boy in Town, African Baby, Rainmaker and My Sweet Sister.
According to Nnadi, My Sweet Sister is currently out while others would be out before the end of the year. "I went abroad to shoot most of this movies despite the huge cost, because as a pioneer, I like doing my movies differently."
Narrating one of the stories, he said that the whole thing started in Nigeria and ended in Europe and America. "I relayed it back to the experience of my own younger brother".
The award-wining producer said sourcing for stories has not been easy, "my stories are from the things happening around me and listening to people with good stories. Some years ago, when I was shooting a movie on the Catholic Church, I had to personally interview my sister, who is a reverend sister".
Nnadi speaks on the proliferation of producers. "The problem the industry is facing today is that most of these small boys are mushroom producers and do not know how the industry started, once they see you driving a good car they instantly believe the easiest way to make it in Nollywood is to be a producer. You have to be passionate and committed to be able to succeed. We are tired of these people jumping into producing". "I started first with marketing before going into production. I became a producer, because somebody that I gave money to produce for me, used it for his own needs and delayed my movie for almost a year and when that was becoming too much, I had to come into producing".
He named disunity in Nollywood as one of the banes of the sector. "People should learn to respect and give honour to those they met in Nollywood and not think of pushing them out because they want to be number one. Some of these new producers do not even recognize us as pioneer moviemakers. We started this industry when Nigerians saw nothing good about it and nurtured it to this level.
"The old and new generation producers are not passionate about Nollywood, they are just after the money and glamour that comes with it. We started first by loving the industry, by producing and dishing out quality movies. Because of my love for the industry, I always strived hard in my own little way to make it better through my movies".
Nnadi accused some producers of recycling and copying other people's jobs "while some even go as far as instructing their directors to make sure it is done exactly like Andy Best' jobs, isn't that crazy."
While Living In Bondage, still remained one of the best movies that was first produced in the industry, the producer noted: "From the very first day the boss of NEK Videos brought it to us, I knew it was going to be a blockbuster and I invested heavily. I also made good profit. It gives me joy every day that the movie I invested in changed the face of Nollywood."
Recounting his challenges, Nnadi said the biggest problems facing Nollywood internally is greed. "Greed is tearing the industry apart." He urged new comers to calm down and learn the ropes before coming out fully, "I'm not against them standing on their own, but they should be patient enough to learn the art and craft from the masters. We need to come together and further consolidate on the gains of Nollywood. When I first started, I co-produced and marketed some big movies with my colleagues. We need to partner ourselves in Nollywood in order to achieve maximum growth".
Nnadi urges government to do more for the industry most especially through legislation and regulating video clubs owners. "All we want from them is a level playing ground so that things can be efficiently done like it is obtained in the Western world".