By Dennis Agbo

The Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival, ENIFF, last Wednesday, in Enugu commenced the showcase of 50 films from 15 global countries.

The four days event features among other films, a Moroccan movie, “Ultimate King”, Nigerian best narrative movie, “Yahoo Plus” and other award-winning movies.

Co-founder of ENIFF, Obianujuaku Akukwe-Nwakalor, who spoke with newsmen in Enugu at the commencement of the premiere, on Wednesday, disclosed that the film festival features the participation of major Nollywood actors such as Pet Edochie.

Akukwe-Nwakalor however regretted that Nollywood which had its roots in the southeast has been taken away from the zone due to equipment deficit and support for the dwindling fortunes of actors and artists who are based in the east.

She also said that the development had forced most of the southeast-based actors and artists to relocate to Lagos where there are better opportunities for the industry.

She said, “They(actors and artists) are struggling because they don’t have the right equipment; they don’t have the right support; they don’t have money.

“To produce a film that can compete, that can at least be on NFILIX, you need millions of Naira and the people here(East) don’t understand what it means to invest. If I tell you to invest N100 million into my film, you don’t understand and because you don’t understand how you are going to make N300 million from it, you are not going to invest”.

Akukwe-Nwakalor, with the co-founder, Mr Chris Odili, is hosting a film festival called Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival (ENIFF) in Enugu through the Eastern Nigeria Film and Arts Initiative, said the idea was to bridge and set up a creative hub in the Southeast.

“We’re basically bridging the entertainment space or grid and set up a creative hub in the Southeast part of Nigeria.

“Yes, we have pockets of things going on here. But, you will agree with me that we’re taking a back seat. We’re the backbenchers right now when it comes to entertainment space. Everything happens in Lagos.

“I came from Abuja and things as basic as finding a projector were very difficult. This is because people don’t use nor demand such here.

“We have forgotten that the Nollywood industry actually started from here in the Southeast. But we have lost the steam”, Akukwe-Nwakalor said.

The idea of the festival, she explained, was to come back home, set up a space where the young ones, particularly those in the schools, could be trained to learn about film education, bringing in facilitators from different parts of Africa and the world so that they can learn from best hands what the creative space is about.

“We are starting from education. We are teaching them first to understand how this works. Until you understand that will shift your mindset and when your mindset is shifted you can now begin to think of how to make money.

“It’s not all about having the knowledge. It’s also about making money from it and getting it to impact the economy positively. Any environment where the youths are progressing, the economy is also progressing,” Akukwe-Nwakalor said.

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