By Benjamin Njoku
EFFORTS towards achieving a global status for the Nigerian film industry has been given a huge boost with the recent unveiling of the Africa Cinematography Festival in Lagos.
The festival, the first of its kind in the industry is designed to bridge the knowledge gap which has negatively affected all aspects of the film making and entertainment industry through training, production enhancement workshop, networking, film market, film and technology expo.
Nigerian entrepreneur and founding Grand Matron, Africa Cinematography Festival, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija led other notable personalities including Frank Adekunle Edwards, CEO of FMA Productions; Henry Emenike, CEO of Germany-based Legacy Empire Management (LEM); Mrs. Judith Alakija, founding ambassador and Director General, Event Coordination, Africa Cinematography Festival and Sunnie Odafe, Co-founder, Africa Cinematography Festival (ACF) at the unveiling.
Speaking at the unveiling, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija said she was fascinated by the initiative, describing the festival as a project that “speaks to the spirit of young Nigerians.” While expressing her full commitment to the festival, she called on the youths to explore the initiative to enhance their skills for the overall development of the industry.
“I share the view that the future of a country, nation or people is a direct function of what the younger generation makes of it. This fact, as common a cliché as it may have become in our national discourse, stresses the need to prioritize the empowerment of those within the bracket. Our youths need to be taught life skills and be empowered with adequate capacity required to enable them become major contributors to the economy and society. Achieving this of course, requires strategic participation from players in both the public and private sectors. It is no mean feat, but the reward is greater and this is the satisfaction,”she said.
Mrs. Judith Alakija who doubles as the project’s founding ambassador and director general of Events and Coordination, said the platform through its capacity-building role will “champion a departure from the old model of film making, sound production, light production and entertainment, to a new all-inclusive one that will promote youth entrepreneurship and accord our country a place among the leading nations with a healthy film making and entertainment economy.”
On the birth of the initiative, the project’s co-founder and chief executive officer of Germany-based Legacy Empire Management (LEM), Henry Emenike, described the Africa Cinematography Festival as “a child of necessity” that will put the industry on track for the desired impact. He regretted that the erosion of trust has resulted in the reluctance of foreign companies to partner with the local players in the area of technical assistance for the development of the industry.
“Through the ACF, we want to provide a platform for trust and partnership between the manufacturers of these equipment and film makers. There is a huge technology gap in our local film production. With the ACF, we are hopeful of bridging this gap by creating a meeting point for both cinematography equipment manufacturers and film makers. The Africa Cinematography Festival envisions a new era and embodies an industry buoyed by technological advancement”, he said.
Registration for the festival is expected to begin in the next two weeks while the festival will run for six days in November.