Entertainment

Appeals made to government to support film festival and the entertainment industry


Mykel Parrish, co-founder of The African Film Consortium and The Nollywood Travel Film Festival, has made an appeal for the government to support film festivals.

 

Parrish was speaking with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday. Film festivals is an avenue for filmmakers to screen their movies to festival goers, interact with peers and seek investment for future work. It can be open to both national and international filmmakers.

 

Parrish noted that while “Festivals like Cannes that is over 70 years old or the Toronto Film Festival are being supported heavily by the government of those countries to promote their cultures which we do not have here.” This no doubt partly accounts for the quality of film festivals in Nigeria not being at par with their international equivalent.

 

In a similar vein, Senator representing Bayelsa East, Benedict Murray-Bruce, also voiced the need for government to provide support for the entertainment industry in the country. According to the Senator, We just need the Federal Government to support the entertainment industry and Nigeria will be the biggest in the world of entertainment.

We just need the Federal Government to support the entertainment industry and Nigeria will be the biggest in the world of entertainment.

Right now, we are the best in Africa and second in the world in the entertainment industry after America.

We have brilliant and intelligent dancers, actors/actresses, musicians, comedians and host of others in the country, so if the FG supports the industry we will be the world best.’’

 

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There is a growing interest in content from Africa as noted in the just concluded National Entertainment Conference (NEC 5), held on 26 April 2016 in Lagos. With particular reference to Nollywood (not forgetting other entertainment sub-sectors), this interest needs to be sustained.  The government can play a role in that – after all, the government also stands to gain from economic activities that arise from an active film industry: employment opportunities, foreign investment, tourism, knowledge exchange to mention just the obvious.

 

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And even the government is aware. What remains is for her to make true its promise to invest in infrastructure (and also other areas). It is on record that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, pledged the support of Federal Government during the sixth Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) held last November in Lagos.

 

Lai Mohammed speaking during the sixth Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF). Image via the Guardian

 

This is what the minister said at the event,

When we trusted in the almighty oil, we built refineries, pipelines, petrol marketing companies, petrol stations etc. Since we are now rightly shifting our focus to this sector, we must now make the necessary investments in the infrastructure that will grow the film industry

The film industry has proven itself to be not just a great employer of labour, especially with young people, but also potentially a very high foreign exchange earner because of its international appeal and demand.”

‘’We need professional studio facilities in every state. You should also not be providing your own power, borrowing at 30 per cent, travelling abroad to do post-production etc.”

 

It will be fantastic to see these translate to reality. Now is not too early.

 

 

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