By Benjamin Njoku
Film Makers and allied professionals who converged on the Tudor Room of the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, Toronto have challenged African leaders to see film as the biggest medium to export the cultures and the rich history of the continent to the rest of the world by evolving policies that will support the industry.
The Africa Cinema Business Roundtable organized by the Africa Film Academy, organisers of the Africa Movie Academy Awards during the 34th Toronto International Film Festival had Mr. Dayo Ogunyemi, Managing Director of 234Media, a Kenya-based company as the Keynote Speaker where he spoke on Policy, Funding, Distribution and Sustainability.
The highly interactive session which lasted for more than three hours generated much passion and debate among the participants mainly filmmakers and journalists from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Canada, Senegal, United States, Congo DRC and Nigeria.
In his presentation, Ogunyemi noted that governments in Africa should support the industry through enabling laws and regulations that gives tax incentives and lower the cost of making films adding that cinema is vital to the growth and development of film in terms of profitability and sustainability for filmmakers.
He stressed that for film to have wider distribution and gross more revenues Africa needs more than 10,000 screens and the number of available screens in theatre across the continent is a far cry.
In her closing remarks, AMAA CEO, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe enjoined participants to collaborate as filmmakers from Africa and Diaspora and engage with political leaders and policy makers to develop policy options that will make the business of filmmaking profitable and sustainable.