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Lessons Nollywood must learn from Cannes

Source: nigeriafilms.com

As of now, it's hard to compare Nigerian filmmakers to their counterparts in Europe, because majority of our filmmakers are yet to know the basics; says Mahmoud Ali-Balogun, one of the country's key filmmakers who graced this year's edition of Cannes Film Festival in France Saturday.

Although Ali- Balogun was not quite satisfied with the quality of films that were screened at the 59th edition of the festival, he told Daily Sun in Cannes that in terms of organisation and execution, the festival crew reflected a long tradition of a people's commitment to a noble vision which has now affected the globe.

He described Cannes as an equivalent of the Olympics games or the FIFA world cup football tournament which every stakeholder or practitioner aspires to be part of, adding that the festival offers a unique platform for interaction and networking as far as film making is concerned. He also urged filmmakers in Africa, including Nigeria to first learn the rules of the game and produce works that can command global attention.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Frank Nweke Jnr, Minister of Information and National Orientation had asked the MD of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Mr Afolabi Adesanya to ensure Nigeria's official participation in next year's edition of Cannes. He had observed that the country had neither a pavilion nor an official film as its entry, hence urged filmmakers to work out logistics to ensure that the country registers its presence on a more elaborate note.

In response, the filmmakers, including Ali Balogun, Richard Mofe Damijo Ejike Asiegbu and Peace Fiberesima raised the minister's hope.

For the dream to be realised, Ali- Balogun observed that much as there are many stories to tell, our filmmakers must improve on techniques and making training a priority. His words " We always have content and in terms of style, what we have is unique to us and we don't need to distort it but the main issue is that we really need to perfect our art what many filmmakers have been doing in Nigeria is that we have been breaking the rules while we do not even know the rules in the first place".

Nevertheless; Ali-Balogun reasoned that many of the films shown at Cannes this year are a reflection of European preference for professionalism in the art of filmmaking. He noted Many of the works we saw here (Cannes) are creative works that may not necessarily appeal to the audience in our environment...here they concentrate more on the artiste whereas we have more stories to tell in view of our cultural background...it is high time we had our own well organised festival in Nigeria and we hope that as we are just starting, we would be able to attain the tradition that has now taken about 60 years for Europeans to build."