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Why we are re-introducing “Igbo” films —Prince Ifeanyi Dike

By Alayande Dayo

PRINCE Ifeanyi Dike presently holds the position of “Eze Anya Igbo” of “Anya Igbo Film Makers Association”, a body of elite film makers of Igbo extraction, based in Lagos.

He has also played prominent roles in the building of Nollywood; Nigeria's thriving movie industry; which sprang out of the bold step taken years ago by Kenneth Nnebue's Nek Films, at making a Nigerian film statement; “Living in bondage”, of course rendered in Igbo language.

Today, besides overseeing the affairs of “Anya Igbo”, Mr. Dike also occupies the position of Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), a position bestowed on him to appreciate his priceless contributions at driving the movie industry, through thick and thin.

Citytracker accosted the hardworking filmmaker and businessman in Lagos recently and engaged him in this no holds barred interview.

INADEQUACIES IN NOLLYWOOD
The reason for this is because everybody wants to do his or her own thing. Every practitioner thinks he or she is too big for the industry.
But I have initiated establishment up of a think tank. When the think tank is fully set, it will work in seclusion, while I will be their mouthpiece.

It is time that practitioners, especially actors begin to take the kind of contract they sign seriously. No actor should sign a contract that does not adequately address every aspect of the deal he is going into.
Today, Nigerian films are not only sold everywhere in the world, it has also been noted that many television networks worldwide show these films. It is time we find out who these stations pay royalties to.
I am aware that the contract the actor enters into with the producer to star in his film qualifies the work for only home viewing. How come the same product the producer claims is only for home viewing is being syndicated on networks, yet the actor gets no financial benefits for this.

Also I think it is time we begin to take the movie industry as a serious business. We have so much cheapened our value. See how Africa Magic shows our films. Is it because they are trying to help us? Or because we are the only country that makes films in Africa? No. It is because they get our films cheap.
Africa Magic cannot show Senegalese films as they do with ours because they cannot get them cheap.
Dedicating a channel to Nigerian films has not been a blessing to us, because majority of practitioners in Nollywood as still very poor.

SOLUTIONS
As the chairman, Board of Trustees of AGN, I and the president of the guild, Ejike Asiegu have initiated a programme that will nip these excesses by producers in the bud, but we need the actor's unalloyed co-operation.
I am using this medium to call on all Nigerian actors to identify with the AGN, so that they will be adequately protected.

We are planning on adopting a standard contract for every producer wishing to engage the services of our members. This issue of not being adequately remunerated or rights being infringed upon has to stop.

RIGHTS & LAWS OF THE LAND
There are laws of the land in place to take care of these issues. But the problem is that our actors are the ones who sell themselves cheap. They have refused to be organized. Their only interest when called upon for work is the money. They don't even take time to read the lousy contracts given to them by producers. They just collect money and feel cool. But when the chips are down, they start crying foul.

The Nigerian actor does not yet know the benefits of engaging a qualified publicist, let alone a manager or a lawyer.
They only engage a glorified errand person, who they refer to as a personal assistant.
This is the reason why producers and marketers don't have regards for them, because they have seem too much of their follies.

In Hollywood you do not get to see Brad Pitt or Will Smith (to mention but two) anyhow. If you want them you talk to their managers. But the reverse is the case here. I don't know if it is borne out of greed, else I don't see the sense in an actor junketing the whole town, all in the name of hustling for jobs and making negotiations