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U.S., Ford Foundation to Offer Technical Assitance to Nollywood

By Bamun Nii-Veror

Barely one month after the introduction of the new framework for the distribution and exhibition of movies in Nigeria by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), the dividends accruable to a formal sector have started rolling into the Nigerian movie industry popularly known as Nollywood. This followed the penciling down of the industry by the U.S government and the Ford Foundation, an international orgnaisation, as one of the beneficiaries of a US government-backed movie support programmes tagged Project 2020.

In the same vein, the industry is to benefit from a Ford Foundation's initiative which seeks to assist the movie industry in West Africa to develop its numerous potentialities. The interest of the foundation, according to its representative, is mainly in the areas of capacity building and skills enhancement, in addition to the provision of funds to produce world-class movies.

NFVCB's Director-General Emeka Mba described as timely the capacity building and the provision of resources to encourage better movies because it would make the board's job easier. The U.S government Project 2020, he said, shared the same philosophy as the board's "Nigeria in the Movies", a project which was conceived to develop and implore filmmakers to project the rich cultural values of the country positively.

Earlier the executive director and member of the U.S Government President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Mr. Henry Moran, told the director-general that the U.S. government, under the committee, was funding a movie programme tagged Project 2020. The project, according to Mr. Moran, seeks to underscore the role of the federal agencies in international cultural strategies and it is inviting both U.S and non-U.S filmmakers to join hands in producing films with cultural contents which aim at bringing out those issues that unite rather than divide the people. He said it was a modern project with a strategy of international cultural diplomacy which the president's committee is driving to help filmmakers to increase their capacity and enhance their skills.

Also speaking, the programme officer, Ford Foundation West Africa, Margie Johnson Reese, identified the areas of the foundation's interest to include capacity building and skills enhancement, with the view of strengthening the industry. Margie Reese said that the foundation aims to elevate the culture of Nigeria through movies and its ready to make resources available to filmmakers to achieve the objective.