Source: nigeriafilms.com
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The Nigerian movie industry A.K.A Nollywood is one of the vibrant sectors of the nation's economy, apart from contributing substantially to the growth of the nation's revenue, it has also created wealth and fame for the artistes by launching them into national and international limelight.

Among the rising stars who have been opportuned to benefit from the make-belief industry is the Akwa-Ibom State movie sensation, Michael Essien, who joined the industry three years back through his debut movie titled, 'Unknown Evil' produced by Ogunda Mba which brought him to limelight. Apart from 'Unknown Evil', he also starred in 'Enemies of the law', 'The Land of Men', 'Diamond Island', 'Holy Cross', 'Love Waves', 'Heritage of Sorrow' among others.

The Port Harcourt-based movie star who spoke with The Weekend Tide in Port Harcourt recently, said he decided to reside in Port Harcourt because of the abundant opportunities that abound in the oil rich state, particularly in the movie sector.

According to him, Rivers State has contributed significantly to the growth of the nation's movie industry. Apart from parading some of the best actors and actresses in Nollywood, most of the known top artistes in the industry passed through the state on their rough road to stardom.

He also noted that “The state has abundant virgin locations and world class hotels that could be used to shoot first class movies, but lack of investment in the industry by indigenes of the state is a major hindrance to the growth of the industry in the state, while the reverse is the case in places like Onitsha, Enugu, Lagos etc, which enjoy high level of investment which has given them an edge over Rivers State in film production and marketing.

The 'unknown evil' star said “though Rivers State is blessed with high powered manpower and virgin in locations, it could face relegation in Nollywood if the indigenes do not invest in the industry”. He contended that a situation where there is no single marketer in the state spells doom for the industry in the state.

Mike Essien, who has featured along popular actors like Pete Edochie, Jim Iyke, Segun Arinze, Eucharia Anunobi, Uche Jumbo, late J. T. TomWest Efe also condemned the use of greenhorns in movies by producers in order to save costs, to the detriment of the professionals, and added that this practice had always been a source of embarrassment to the industry.

According to him, movie marketers – who combine marketing with the jobs of directors and producers to amass excess wealth also pose great problem to the industry as they bombard the market with substandard movies that erode the image of the industry. He noted that acting, movie production and directing is not a do-or-die affair because it requires skill and intelligence to be able to interprete roles perfectly and to produce good films.

The Akwa Ibom State-born movie star commended the organisers of the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) and described it as the best thing that has happened to moviedom in Africa in recent times. He stressed that the organisation recognises encourages and rewards excellence in the movie industry and spurs the practitioners to greater heights.

He commended Mr. Kanayo O. Kanayo (KOK) and Joke Silver as well as Olu Jacobs and Chioma Chukwuka for emerging the AMAA best actors and actresses for 2006 and 2007 respectively and described their awards as well deserved.