Inkblot Women In Film Initiative, IWIF, has charged the wider Nigerian film industry to leverage recent industry advancements that are shaping African storytelling and the continent’s motion-picture business. IWIF at its June meeting also called for more inclusiveness for more women and young filmmakers, noting that it was time for Nollywood to be more open and transparent.
Although its revenues are not at par with Bollywood and Hollywood, Nollywood still generates an impressive figure annually. Believing that if the industry is properly managed, more jobs could be created in the sector, the Inkblot Women In Film is creating a forum where the filmmakers, writers, producers, scriptwriter and others within the film industry value chain will come together to discuss the issues facing it and also find viable solutions to these issues.
The June lunch meeting focused on the business of film in Nigeria, how to generate more revenue from the box office, the roles of unions amongst others. In attendance was co-founder, Inkblot Productions and Convener IWIF; Zulumoke Oyibo; Actor and TV Host, Osas Ighodaro; Actor and Content Creator, Layole Oyatogun; Actor and Director, Belinda Ayanga; Producer, Jemila Musa; Writer and Director, Ifeanyi Chidi; Writer/Producer, Fatimah Binta Gimsay; Managing Partner, GLG Communications, Omawumi Ogbe; Actor, Anne Icha; Filmmaker and lifestyle influencer, Alex Unusual; Actor/Model, Beverly Osu; Media Personality/Entrepreneur, Anto Lecky; Producer, Onyinye Okoroji; and Actor and Model, Chrystabel Goddy.
For the convener of IWIF, Zulumoke Oyibo, there is need for more openness because “Nollywood is not being documented enough. There should be proper follow-up on actors just like in Hollywood”. She also stressed the importance of actors being treated right and should have the best working conditions. According to her “Actors need to be invested in more. The primary selling point of the film is the face of the movie. Brand actors, mark them up and promote them to the public.
The June cohort also called for stronger unions that will advance the cause of film practitioners and help them get better royalties. Zulumoke suggested that young people in the industry need to come together to create a union that will genuinely serve the interests of film practitioners across the value chain.
On her part, producer and former film exhibitor, Onyinye Okoroji revealed that “there is a lot of money to be made in community cinemas”, adding that it is also less capital intensive as practitioners do not need much to set them up. Writer and director, Ifeanyi Chidi corroborated that this could boost Box Office earnings because people from other less affluent areas can get the Nollywood experience and see how good Nigerian movies can be.
For Osas Ighodaro, the role of unions cannot be overemphasized. According to her “ I was in the union in the States and I saw the structure and organization and how they protect the actors. Coming here, there is no structure, actors do not get royalties etc. There should be a residual structure for actors, directors, writers and more to receive royalties for their work.”
PR and communications expert, Omawumi Ogbe urged women in the industry to collaborate more noting that it will drive change across board. “We can start this with the women and then progress to include men along the way. ” adding that the “IWIF initiative isn’t just about discussing challenges, it’s also about how can we collaborate and experience measurable growth together”