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NFVCB: New Agenda Against Piracy

By Darlington Abuda

The on-going campaign by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), to curb piracy and increase the awareness of the general populace on the steps they can take so as not to be ensnared by such dishonest characters has received a new lease of life with the recent launch of new television adverts by the board. Presenting the adverts to the press, the director general of NFVCB, Mr. Emeka Mba, said the adverts were part of an unfolding series that will continue to be put on the air to intimate Nigerians of their rights and how it can be secured.

The concept behind the television adverts, which are currently running on television stations across the country, are based on the premise of using situations that are familiar with everyone to pass across the message behind the advert. The five adverts, which were shot using Nollywood actors, are titled pirates of the naija, distributor vs producer, video club palaver, ride to cell and to kill or not to kill.

Pirates of the naija begins with all the pomp of a major Nollywood flick with loud sounds and flashy cars, police men accompanied with three plain clothes detectives are seen outside the establishment of a pirate of Nollywood movies. The scene cuts indoors, we see the ring leader telling his boys, who were busy arranging video CDs into their cases, to print 50, 000 copies of a particular movie for him because it was in hot demand. Seeming on top of the world, he said "piracy business na good business," but his joy was short-lived as the police team raided his office and arrested all of them.

Distributor vs producer begins an actor being praised by his fans for his magnificent interpretation of the role he played in his latest movie, based on the popularity of the movie among the populace he called the producer of the movie to congratulate him and remind him of the payment of his royalties. The producer replied he was on his to the distributor and would make said payment immediately he collected his returns from the distributor. The producer got a rude shock when the distributor told him that he didn't sell more than 7, 000 copies of the film, while they are coming to exchange blows, trying to decide what happened, an officer of the NFVCB entered the house and informed the producer that the distributor was not licensed to distribute films by the board at any level and subsequently the said movie was not censored by the board making it virtually impossible to track its sales.

Video Club Palaver begins with the arrest of a young lady just coming out of a video club after renting a pirated film, the police informed the video club operator, who was also arrested, that his club was not registered and therefore not eligible to rent out movies. They went on to say that the way to recognise a properly licensed video club was the display of the certificate obtained from the NFVCB in the club.

Ride to cell begins with four young ladies taking a seemingly leisure ride when one of them discovered a roadside vendor selling a movie she starred in, which hadn't been released into the market. The vendor was invited into the car and driven to the police station where he was handed over to the police.

To kill or not to kill begins with an actor thinking about the fruitless years he had put into the movie industry without proper remuneration, because his films were being pirated. He reached the suicidal decision to kill everyone responsible for his sorrows, on his way to execute the act, he was stopped by a young man who reasoned with him and intimated him of the solutions by the NFVCB to change his situation.

Review:

The television adverts displayed a measure of professionalism in their bid to communicate the essence of the campaign to Nigerians. The producers of the TVCs utilise the services of Nollywood actors which invariably would attract Nigerians who were fans of these actors to pay close attention to the message that was communicated.

The scripts of the various adverts showed certain flaws, which should be remedied in the future continuations of the series.

For example, in ride to cell, the girl who recognised that her movie was being sold did that at an impossible distance and the scenario of a home video vendor ignorantly entering the car of four strange women because they said they wanted to buy plenty of his wares is a hard pill to swallow, especially when the face of one them is on the jacket of one of the films he is selling. The director should have looked for a more believable way of conveying the aesthetics of his production in hat advert.

In to kill or not to kill, the actor sets out to kill home video pirates whose activities had kept him in penury despite doing movies which were being sold everywhere. Strangely, the young man who met to dissuade him from his act did not ask who he wanted to kill before he started telling him about the solutions which had been proffered by NFVCB to change his condition for the better.

Despite the flaws in scripting and directing, the NFVCB should be commended for the technical aspects of the TVCs, which are par excellent and worthy of emulation. And for the fact that the overall message of campaign is suitably represented in both the actions and dialogue of every single advert in the campaign. The creativity of the post production editor to present multiple screens during each TVC makes them novel in packaging and more intriguing to view.