What movie producers, marketers expect in 2005
what they had done and what they expect to accomplish. Last year, the movie industry was exciting, though with its ups and downs like any other sector of the economy. What is the way forward for the year 2005. KATE AMAM spoke to some stakeholders in the industry. Excerpts
2004 was an eventful year for the movie industry. For the first time the movie industry was mentioned in the budget. First time N100m allocated to the sector. First time the sector mentioned in net documents. Yet in all, I feel the 30 per cent imput done last year, I feel more could have been done because we do not even see the proper use of the N100m. It was only the MoVISTAC, the retreat organised, that some part of the money was used, apart from that we do not see what other use the money was put into. Also the committee set up to look at the moviestac report, but till this moment, no document to that effect. Also the merger of NFC with NFVCB, we in the system, are against that merger. The market was poor last year, apart from the movie, "Osofia in London", that made impact last year, others did not make much impact. Kudos to the Yoruba films, they improved greatly, simply, because of the harmonious relationship between the Yoruba producers and their marketers. Also the filmmakers cooperative of Nigeria, which we thought will make impact last year, slacked, it failed woefully.
Also the Abuja film festival was made last year. Though there was no government support apart from censors board, a couple of the international bodies participated.
The yearly subvention, for the movie industry, N100m, we are hoping this year when it comes out we will be able to utilise it well. We are saying government would begin to empower the association, begin to create structure, such as: workshops, seminars, are beneficial not workshops like that of Movistac, but if they will invite instructors from UK or USA to come and take people on directing, I think standard will improve. Here you can begin to say NFC has a film studio in Jos, 30 producers shall go there. We are bringing five foreign instructors to come and teach them. We want to shoot one celluloid film, can DSW or AMP come together and get producers or directors. Who will teach and work, we are looking at the Nigeria, how can we create the Nigeria image to the outside world, this is the kind of ways to use that kind of money, not to use the money to travel from one place to another.
In 2005, we are expecting the marketers to see the producers as their partners not enemies.
They should inculcate what the Yoruba have done, who have come together to fight their common enemies, the video clubs. We should come together and fight the common enemy.
Also 2005, we are expecting that the rancour and bickering that engulfed some of the associations, like impeach Zack Orji here, impeach Madu Chikwendu there; yes, 2005, we should come together and work harmoniously. I was having a meeting with NEK Video boss because of Madu's issue.
On Madu Chikwendu and the old producers misunderstanding
I think Madu has no moral right to insult the old producers. No matter what Zeb Ejiro, Amaka Igwe, Chief Kenneth Nnebue, Chief Eddy Ugbomah, etc have done, he has no moral right to insult them because they are old people, though he may have power but no moral right, forget film, we should begin to respect our elders. So for him to begin calling them names, was wrong and for him not to agree to apologise is also wrong. Our culture is to respect our elders.
Sam Azubuike: film director/producer.
We do not know how well business will do in the morning. But as events unfold, we can say this is how it is going or that is how.....
Last year we had a lot of ups and downs. The industry was dull. Things have not been as it supposed to be. Investors were not keen in investing because the market was bad. Coupled with the ban, not wanting to do business with some artistes, all these things slow down business. While the professional filmmakers were not having easy to operate due to lack of fund, as a result we saw a lot of junks and many stories recycled.
But in 2005, I believe the professionals, the creative minds, are going to go back to film making.
On government support.
It is not bad, I believe the government started seeing that industry can bring in good returns, unlike its earlier negligence on showbiz some years past. We heard about the money, going into budget, but is not the first time we have heard such things. We are film makers, when Abacha was alive, there was a move of N900 million, but it was just as news we heard of it. So this time we need action. Not only physical money per se, we need to have infrastructure, a good playing ground, an atmosphere for production like the man say atmosphere for miracle, create the enabling environment. Is not enough for government to say we have put in N100m, but into what hands? Is it the proper film makers or some kind of obscure people somewhere. So whether you like it or not or government likes it or not, we independent producers have singlehandedly put food on the table of many people. We can beat our chest on that, government coming in is not a big deal. Let government create an enabling environment so that when we make film with some amount of money, we will be able to recoup. The banks and other corporate bodies have not come in because they feel there is no enabling environment yet; no good markets. On government's intention to merge Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC) with National film and video Censors Board: No! we do not agree on that. One, Censors board has its function distinct from NFC. Each of their function is clearly defined. The primary function of the board is to classify films.
Banning of popular artistes!
I'm hearing from you of 'ban'. Rather what we heard was that they said they (marketers) do not want to do business with some of the artistes. So it is not out of place. But if they have said we ban them (artistes) we can say no! Because they do not have power to ban any artiste. It is an open market. We the film makers make the stars but the marketers no doubt have contributed greatly to the development of the industry. So if I want to use them for shooting, I will use them. If government has put its act together, a section of the industry cannot get up and say they have banned some artistes.
It is a great year as the churches are saying; but it all depends on planning; because without good planning; nothing comes to fruition. To me, 2005, is going to be a good year. I'm going to make about three films. You know that since two years, I have not made any film because the market was bad. But this year am coming out with films, not only to sell to market, but for cinema houses; rehabilitate the cinema culture.