By Benjamin Njoku
The Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) may have started disbursing the $200 million fund pledged by President Goodluck Jonathan to support the Nigerian entertainment industry.
NEXIM Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Roberts Orya, while speaking at a press briefing held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Victoria Island,Lagos, said the partnership signified the flag-off of NEXIM’s support for film production which was promised in 2011 by the Federal Government to help grow capacity in the entertainment industry.
The first beneficiary of the fund, named NEXIM Creative Arts and Entertainment Facility, is Black Ivory Communication. Black Ivory communication will be using the funds given to them to finance a film titled ‘Doctor Bello’.
According to Orya, the fund has been opened for access to anybody interested in investing in the Nigerian entertainment industry.
“The Nigerian creative arts and entertainment industry has done creditably well in the socio-economic development of the nation. The industry has, by recent estimates, created over one million jobs directly and indirectly, and generated a minimum of $500million in revenue annually. The industry is also widely adjudged as the most prolific in the world, producing over 2,500 films yearly in the past three years,” he said.
He added that the movie, ‘Dr Bello’ is a compelling story line that promises a good return on investment for the bank and the producers.
The CEO of Black Ivory Communication, Tony Abulu, said that ‘Dr. Bello’ is set to take the movie industry to the next level.
“With what we are witnessing today, I can assure you that Nollywood is about to fly. We cannot continue to depend on our oil revenue. We have to begin to make products ourselves and we have to begin to package it for the international market, and those stories must be of international standard,” Abulu said.
Starring great names in Nollywood and Hollywood including Isaiah Washington, Vivica A. Fox, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Bern Cohen, Genevieve Nnaji, Victor Browne, Stephanie Okereke, Desmond Elliot, Andrea Leigh, Zack Orji and many others, ‘Doctor Bello” promises to be a blockbuster.
According to Abulu, “Nigeria cannot continue to depend on oil revenue to survive. I am producing this movie to prove to the whole world that with the recognition that Nollywood is receiving even with poorly funded movies, the industry is capable of boosting the economy and at the same time, carve a better image for the country”.
Dr Bello which is scheduled for release in summer 2012, would indeed, become a global film as it is expected to touch everyone.
The storyline according to Abulu, who lost his mother-in-law to Cancer, is on the dreaded disease and his decision to educate the people concerning the dreadful disease was based on his involvement in the business of propagating African culture and values. “It is a global film, so, I picked a topic that will interest and affect the whole world”.