By Benjamin NJOKU
THE Actors Guild of Nigeria has raised an alarm over the influx of foreign actors into the countryâ€™s film industry, especially the Ghanaian actors, calling on Nigerian film makers and marketers alike to be cautious of this ugly development. Â
However, a statement credited to one of Nollywood movie producers, Fidelis Duker , said, â€œThe introduction of Ghanaian actors into the Nollywood is a good development for the industry. Duker described the movie industry as an open market and anybody from anywhere can be a part of it.
It is the market that determines how long they will stay in the industry. Itâ€™s business. Movie producers are making so much money from these guys. Ghanaian actors today are hot cakes and they sell movies. Why wonâ€™t they get roles?â€ Fidelis was quoted as saying.
In a statement by the AGN president, Mr Segun Arinze, the body urged the nationâ€™s film producers to embrace an 80 per cent local talents and 20 per cent foreign artistes in our films.
AGN president described the current situation as worrisome, adding that, â€œour talents are left wasting away without any job to do.â€
More disturbing, however, Arinze said, is a situation where the local actors are not engaged in jobs outside the country, making their own efforts not reciprocal.
He said AGN appreciates the contribution of their foreign counterparts towards the growth of Nollywood.
That industry watchers agree that Nollywood is currently under siege, and the fierce competition is coming from Ghana, the same country that is described as the second largest market for Nollywoodâ€™s products.
It would be recalled that in the recent past, Nollywood actors and actresses were treated like demi_gods whenever they travelled to any of the African countries. But today all that have changed as their fortunes are said to have dwindled by the constant invasion of Ghanaian actors into the industry.
Once names like Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic, Omotola Jalade_Ekeinde, Richard Mofe Damijo, Emeka Ike, Chidi Mekome, Jide Kosoko and many others used to bring bright smiles to the faces of Nollywood lovers. But these names today have tactically given way for the more fame_conscious and vibrant looking Ghanaian actors and actresses, including Van Vicker, Majid Micheal, Yvonne Nelson, Jackie Appiah, Nadia Buari, Nana Ama McBrown, and the list keeps rising by the day.
Reacting to this development, Nollywood marketers who also double as financiers, have once expressed the view that while sale of movies had declined in recent times, the need to recoup their investments prompted the use of Ghanaian faces in our films.
According to them, high sales of movies occurs whenever Ghanaians acted alongside Nollywood actors. Recently, the swing in the production pendulum from the Nigerian marketers to their Ghanaian counterparts has also been given as one of the reasons for the invasion. Marketers in Gollywood (Ghanaâ€™s movie industry) were said to have insisted that for Nollywood movies to be marketed in Ghana, such movies must feature their own stars, definitely not roles relegating them to the background but those that would put the spotlight on them.
Besides, theÂ N1 million â€˜upfront market ordersâ€™ bait by the Ghanaian marketers, dangling temptingly before their Nigerian counterparts to be used byÂ Nollywood producers prior to the shooting of the movies (if Gollywood actors are used) have been eagerly swallowed by the Nigerian marketers.
Given this development, Nollywood actors are at the receiving end, having beenÂ relegated to the background as they are assigned second fiddle roles as opposed to their Ghanaian counterparts.