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5 DAYS OF TALKS FOR THE GROWTH OF AFRICAN CINEMA

Source: nigeriafilms.com

The 5th edition of the African Film and Television content Expo, otherwise called BOBTV, opened last Monday with talks on African cinema as a custodian and exportable medium of values, tradition and life of people within the continent without trying to be Western in the midst of borrowed technology. The 5-day gathering of filmmakers from all over the world and relevant government agencies stresses the need for Nollywood, the generic name for the Nigerian film industry to surpass the quantum appraisal as 3rd largest in the world. Apart from the fact that experts in different aspects of filmmaking flew down from Hollywood to share practical ideas with filmmakers, film and broadcast students and production outfits, the forum also offered another opportunity for the various divides in the Nigerian motion picture industry to fashion out a way of integration.

One of such indices pointing to a common front for Nollywood in the nearest future was the presence of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa'ad Abubakar, who not only identified with the event by conducting the opening ceremony but by also speaking to the stakeholders on the import of traditional values in contemporary culture and audio visual communication.

"I have always been fascinated by the interplay of cultures. In the evolution of society, it has been a curious study observing the constant conflict between the tradition and contemporary." The sultan who was represented by Mallam Danladi Bako, former DG Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, said, adding that "the potency of this contemporary communication channel is not over-emphasised as Nigerian movies have been encountered in places like China, Dubai, Australia, Mexico, Ireland, Germany, Congo DRC, Libya, France and Malawi to name a few."

The Sultan, who pointed out that responsibility has been relegated to the lower echelons of the society, charged the filmmakers to explore a strong knowledge base of Nigeria, its people, norms, culture, values, tradition, history and antecedents among other things that will guarantee an authentic and proud content for the Nigerian movies.

The keynote address, laden with great sense of comic relief was given by Mr. John Dara, who just lost the National Secretary post of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Dara whose talk was centred on whether arts, business and politics are strange bedfellows, concluded that the three are complementary. He noted that the arts mirrors the business and politics in the society which in most cases have been carried out with mediocrity. Dara expressed his disappointment in the way politics is played in the country when he said: "Nigerian politicians and political parties must stop disgracing Nigeria, they must learn to practice real democracy. The relevance of this to the entertainment industry is that we must reject the spirit of 'anything goes'. Even if we cannot meet film standards in America and some advanced economies, we must thrive not only to be the most profitable in Africa but the most qualitative. We should compete with film producers in Iran, Lenanon, Bulgaria, South Africa, Argentina and even India and such other less intimidating nations."

The event which was also attended by the Managing Director of Nigerian Film Corporation, Mr.Afolabi Adesanya, Director General, National Film and Video Censors Board, Mr. Emeka Mba, Engineer Yomi Bolarinwa, D-G, National Broadcasting Commission among others gave special recognition awards to some outstanding stakeholders, among them, veteran actor and director, Sam Loko; producer and director of popular Cock Crow at Dawn and Mirror in the Sun, Chika Onu; Bayero University's senior lecturer and filmmaker, Mallam Jibril Umar Faruk; and Mr. Tony Ikeokwu, an entrepreneur per excellence.