BENJAMIN NJOKU &NNAMDI OJIEGO
Stakeholders in the Nigerian motion picture industry has expressed worried following , what they described as “the indiscriminate way at which the regional film sub-sectors, are springing up, to submerge the symbol of the industry known as Nollywood.”
The stakeholders comprising ;industry operators, film scholars, students and the media made these observation at the annual lecture series organised by the Nigerian Film Corporation’s annual film lecture, and which held last Saturday, at Silverbird Galleria, Victoria Island, Lagos.
According to the stakeholders, the development remains a distraction from the ever growing entertainment industry in the country. They noted that, while Kannywood stands for the northern film industry, Nollywood represents the interest of the film makers from the southern part of the country.
But speaking at the occasion, Professor Femi Okiremuette Shaka of the University of Port Harcourt, who delivered the keynote address dismissed this observation, stating that the development should not be seen as a major threat to the growth of the film culture in Nigeria.
In his lecture titled, “Nollywood: Reconstructing the Historical and Socio-cultural Contexts of the Nigerian Video Film Industry”, Professor Shaka argued that the emergence of these regional film industries such as Kannywood was as a result of the people’s desire for self- identity.
“People are trying to give personal identity to their own film culture and that is what gave rise to all these ‘woods’. Kannywood is just an issue, arising from a section of the country trying to give a unique identity to their own thing. But it is not something that we should worry about because, as we know, there are many woods that will emerge but they will only be a sub film culture within the Nollywood. They cannot be taken as a national film culture. National film culture of the country is known as Nollywood”, he explained.
He chronicled the evolution of cultural issues and stereotypes that portray Nigeria and her good people in bad light. To him, there are the good sides of these ways of life as opposed to those shown in Nigerian movies.
Prof. Shaka also commending the resilience of Nigeria filmmakers charged the practitioners to manage “real time” in their productions and create images that would make watching Nigerian movies captivating and interesting.
Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Adinoyi-Ojo Onukaba, among other speakers advocated the need to preserve the Nigerian Culture in the movies being produced. Focus, he said, should be on quality, not quantity; he further warned on the resentment against dominance of Nigerian movies being seen as “cultural imperialism” in most African countries.
Afolabi Adesanya, NFC’s Managing Director/Chief Executive in his opening remark summed up the objectives of the annual lecture, thus: “the Annual lecture series presents another cohesive platform for the sustainable developmental drive of the Nigeria motion picture industry.”
The highlights of the event included presentations of cash award and certificates to the winners of NFC’s annual essay competition; and the Life Time Achievement Awards. All award recipients, Chief Ita Okon, Aliu Kankara (Life Time Achievers), Chineze Anyaene producer of the blockbuster movie, “ Ije” (Highest Box office Gross), Ayo Sewanu (Silverbird Distribution Company), for (Best Distributor Award) and winners of the 2010/2011 NFC Film Essay Competition were full of emotions, and commended NFC for the honour bestowed them.