Tuesday, June 18, 2013 marked the beginning of a new dawn in the annals of the movie industry in Nigeria. It was a day that representatives of the Nigerian film industry set aside other activities to analyze issues affecting the movie industry at the National Theater, Iganmu Lagos.
To underscore the seriousness attached to the assembly, they deliberated all day on the state of the industry but with particular emphasis on the N3billion Presidential Intervention Fund, which for them is inadequate.
For them, “The release of the guidelines for accessing the capacity-building fund has no input from the industry and its elected leaders, contrary to the agreement reached with the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister for Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The Nollywood Summit, which is expected to become a regular event, was convened by Nigerian Motion Picture Experts Group (NMPEG) a Nollywood Think Thank, hosted by Film & Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria.
The Summit, anchored by Paul Obazele (producer) and Zack Orji (actor), was attended by regulators and other stakeholder with over 600 delegates from all over the country participating. With the success of attendance, the Nollywood Summit has a bragging right as the first single largest gathering of practitioners since 1904 when a Briton Mr. Stanley, showed the first film at Glover Hall, Lagos.
Notable among those who bared their minds on the state of the industry and the way forward were veteran film maker, Chief Eddy Ugbomah (OFR), Mrs. Bola Athar, Deputy Zonal coordinator, South West, National Film and Video Censorship Board; Mrs. Bukola Agbaminoja, Head, Film office, Lagos State Film and Video Censorship Board; Fathia Ansah Plange, Chief Operating Officer, African Film and Entertainment Investment summit, and Mr. Bond Emeruwa of the Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations among others.
At the end of the historic day, they resolved that the orderly growth and development of the industry is not possible without input and direction from the stakeholders and owners of Project Nollywood, but that “N3b (less than USD $13m) is grossly inadequate to reposition the industry. They also faulted the appointment of members of the ministerial committee (on the grant) as undemocratic and not reflective of the wishes and aspirations of the industry.
“The guidelines are unprofessional and inconsistent with global best practice. It is an abnormality for assessors to be anonymous as it denies applicants the opportunity to assess their assessors and where necessary, challenge the decision of the board. Additionally, some members of the committee have vested interest in training. There is therefore a conflict of interest.
“Consequently the Summit rejects the guidelines on accessing the three hundred million naira capacity building tranche of the N3b Presidential Intervention fund. The scope of the fund has to be expanded; membership of a guild /association must be a mandatory precondition for accessing the fund. Such guilds must have been existing and functional before January 1, 2013.
“The Summit hereby establishes a committee to work out modalities for constructive engagement with the government. The members of the committee whose mandate is to report back to the industry within two working days are: Mr Bond Emeruwa (Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Associations), Mr Norbert Ajaegbu (Film & Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria), Mr Perekeme Odion (Creative Designers Guild of Nigeria) and Mr Chima Okereke (Directors Guild of Nigeria).”
Others are Ms. Ibrahim (Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners), High Chief Aina Kusoro (Yoruba Film Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria), Representative of Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria, and Representative of Association of Movie Practitioners. Also included in the committee are Mr. Tony Anih (Screenwriters Guild of Nigeria, Representative of the Convener, Nigerian Motion Picture Experts Group (NIMPEG 1), and Mr. Theodore Anyaji (Association of Movie Producers).