Monday, December 5, 2016

The Nigerian Film Commission Bill


The Bill that has currently passed second reading at the National Assembly.

NIGERIAN FILM CORPORATION KEY CHALLENGES AND SUCCESSES RECORDED FROM 2013 TO DATE

Upon assumption of duty of the Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Dr. Danjuma Wurim Dadu in 2013, Dr. Dadu and his management team in pursuance of  the Corporation’s mandate to grow and develop a viable film industry, the Corporation has developed a more wholistic and integrative approach in realizing its mandate despite daunting challenges.

CHALLENGES
Notwithstanding the challenges bedeviling the smooth operations of the Corporation, Management under the leadership of Dr. Dadu in its efforts has initiated and taken proactive steps with a view to mitigate the following identifiable issues.  These are:

1. NIGERIAN FILM CORPORATION STATUTE

The major fundamental problem has been the use of the obsolete Decree No 61 of 1979 establishing the Corporation which is lacking in scope, specificity and in details which are necessary for effective policy coordination and implementation for the Nigerian film industry.

ACHIEVEMENTS/ EFFORTS
In addressing this, the Nigerian Film Corporation has initiated the process of repealing the existing Nigerian Film Corporation Act with the new Nigerian Film Commission Bill. The Film Commission Bill currently has passed second reading at the National Assembly.

When the bill is passed into law, the Commission will function more efficiently and effectively as is the case in most thriving and developed film industries. It will also place the Commission to superintend over the film industry and provide the much needed infrastructure and facilities as well as become a film regulatory agency.
Furthermore, The Nigerian Film Commission will amongst other things

       I.            Provide and create a framework for a viable, sustainable growth and orderly development of the film and video industry in Nigeria that is globally competitive;

    II.            Project and protect the rich cultural heritage and the values of the people of Nigeria by encouraging the production of high quality Nigerian films and videos for both domestic consumption and for export;

 III.            Ensure the professionalization of the film industry; by regulating the activities of guilds and association in the film industry for the orderly development of the industry;

 IV.            Encourage the standardization of film and video production, distribution and exhibition facilities;

With this Bill in place we will be able to:

1.                  Establish a Production Services that will produce films and also be the sole mandatory producer of the Federal Government films and documentaries;

2.                  Establish a dedicated channel on terrestrial television and pay television for showing of Nigerian films;

3.                  Establish a rental service for the leasing of film equipment to practitioners in the film industry;

4.                  Establish Arbitration and Mediation services to initiate and undertake Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms for disputes arising in the film industry;

5.                  Prosecute actions pursuant to the provisions of this Act subject to the Attorney General of the Federation;

6.                  Establish a body responsible for regulating the professional practice and ethics in the film and video industry which shall be known as Motion Picture Council of Nigeria (MOPICON).

In the area of funding the new Commission will

(1)   Establish a Fund for the development of the film and video industry in form of grants and rebate which shall be known as the National Film Development Fund (NFDF).

The Fund shall be the repository of all government grants, funds and financial incentives to the film and video industry.

2. INADEQUATE FUNDING: one of the major challenges which the Corporation has continued to grapple with is inadequate funding.  The dwindling allocation by government to the Corporation has been responsible for stifling the execution of some of the Corporation programmes, activities and projects. This lack of adequate funding from the Federal Government has hindered the NFC the material and necessary muscle to invest in equipment and capital goods and develop infrastructure and facilities that will enable it facilitate the growth of a vibrant film industry in Nigeria.

ACHIEVEMENTS/EFFORTS
Film Financing and funding remains an all important factor in film development in Nigeria.  Notably, the present administration is making concerted efforts in providing intervention funds to stimulate the further growth and development of the film industry as an alternative source of revenue generation to the country.

Based on the above, the Corporation is optimistic that when the Nigerian Film Commission Bill is passed into law which has the National Film Development Fund (NFDF) and the National Film Village Development (NFVD) embedded in it, the Corporation will greatly be repositioned to meet the challenges of the emerging Nigerian film industry.

Despite the financial crunch, the management of the Corporation has embarked on a project drive by reaching out to critical stakeholders for the development of infrastructural facilities for the film industry through the establishment of film villages in Nigeria.

A Film Village is “one stop shops” film destination of the highest international standards with all offering facilities that filmmakers and emerging talents all over the world will come to and carry out their filming activities with ease as well as make Nigeria a film production destination.

These film villages will serve the following purposes:

1.      training hub for film production and post production activities;

2.      equipped with modern facilities of Advanced High Definition equipment for training and film production;

3.      train Nigerians in trades such as sewing, shoe & bag making, hair dressing, computer knowledge skills;

4.      train film related organisations in film production and the use of film equipments;

5.      film industry experience for students undergoing graduate and post graduate training in film, media arts related studies;

6.      provide private and public organisations in film skills trade center and manpower development;

7.      training in- house and external organisations in capacity building;

The concept, design and construction of the film villages will exert enormous positive impact not only on the Nigerian film industry but also on the nation’s economy.

KANO FILM VILLAGE

The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) through its strategic partnerships, consultation/ collaboration has attracted the development of the Ultra Modern Cinematography/Film Entrepreneurial Center in Kano which has been appropriated in 2016 Federation Budget.

The benefits of the centers include the following:


1.      Improvement in the quality of film production in Nigeria;

2.      Increase and improve capacity and skills of film makers in film production and training;

3.      increase and improve professional competences of emerging filmmakers;

4.      Increase the learning capacity and professional competences of filmmakers in the art and film businesses;

5.      Encourage and promote film production, marketing/ distribution for filmmakers and other film businesses that would open shop in and around the center;

6.      Provision of the much needed but lacking infrastructure for the industry;

7.      Nigeria filmmakers will not have to look outside for expert services or facilities;

8.      Filmmakers from other countries especially within Africa sub- region will make Nigeria a production and post production destination;

9.      Provision of more theatres and screens for film exhibition in Nigeria with its attendant box office returns;

10.  This centres will attract film practitioners from Europe and America to open shop in Nigeria leading to increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and our film makers can learn from their expertise;

11.  It will create employment not just for film practitioners but others in supporting industries;

12.  Qualitative training will be provided for teeming Nigerian youth while practitioners can hone their skills and be exposed to modern facilities;

13.  It will increase revenue to government through taxes and levies;

14.  Creating linkages between Nigeria and other film industries;

15.  Production and export will generate more FDI and can be an alternative to oil;

16.  Provide more content stream for Television and Cinema as Nigeria transits from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting.


Importantly, the design of the facilities for the film village include Production Studios, Sound Stages, Screening Theater, Post Production and Sound Studios, Editing suites, training facilities, including Hostels, Hotel and accommodation for filmmakers, recreational facilities, eateries and state of the art equipment fabrication and prop production bays, banks, satellite markets, fuel station and side shops sited within the film village.


3. FUNDING OF NIGERIAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (NIFF

The overall objective of the Nigerian International Film Festival is to explore the economic and audiovisual potentials of Africa’s largest motion picture industry; give impetus to its steady growth pattern and increasing profile as well as align it to the vast and expansive opportunities available in the global audiovisual market.  It is also a platform for Nigerian film practitioners to network with their counterparts from other parts of the world; for co-production opportunities.  The festival will further reward cinematic excellence; promote audio-visual services, cultural products and the huge export potentials of Nigerian films as well as heralding Nigeria’s tourism potentials as a film destination hub.

Funding of the NIFF has  numerous benefits awaits both indigenous and foreign film practitioners and participants to take advantage of the huge marketing deals, negotiations of co-production agreements, selling of film rights, negotiations with film financiers and producers, marketers, distributors, exhibitors and emerging talents and free legal services to numerous clientele as well as film screenings among others.


4. PARTICIPATION AT INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVALS
Before my assumption in office in 2013, the NFC has been participating and sponsoring industry practitioners to international film festivals such as Cannes film festival, Berlinale international film festival, Sithengi, American film market and Toronto international film festival just to mention a few. The last time NFC officials participated and sponsored industry practitioners to an international film festival was Cannes in 2013.

NFC is fully aware of the importance of participation in international film festivals including the economic advantage and benefits to Nigerian, film sector in particular. The NFC is not in any way shying away from its mandate and responsibilities. Be it as it may, the inability of the Corporation not to participate or sponsor any practitioners to international film festivals after 2013 outing was due to poor funding. From about the beginning of 2013, revenue accruing to the Federal Government had been on the decline. This affected the adequate funding of government activities, its parastatals and agencies, NFC inclusive. The Corporation has been receiving meagre resources from government which is not even enough to meet up with its immediate financial obligations not to talk of participating and sponsoring practitioners to international film festivals.

 5. CHANGE OF STATUES AND NAME OF THE NATIONAL FILM INSTITUTE (NFI)
The National Film Institute (NFI) being a monotechnic is the training institution for the training of film practitioners, students, emerging talents as well as stakeholders. The Institute has been unable to access regular, special and high impact intervention funds from agencies such as the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for its physical infrastructural development, teaching/ learning development, and research and book development publications.

Consequently, the change of name of the NFI to National Institute of Film and Media Arts Studies (NAFIMAS) has become imperative if the Institute is to receive intervention funds meant for the upgrading of infrastructural facilities. 

(a) Registration of National Institute of Film and Media Arts Studies with National Universities Commission (NUC), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) among others.

(b) Registration of National Institute of Film and Media Arts Studies  with Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for Regular Intervention.

It will enable the Institute to access regular, special and high impact funds from Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for the development of physical infrastructure, teaching and learning environment as well as for academic and research purposes among others.

a.       The Institute will then have the capacity to commence postgraduate programmes in Film Technology, Media Studies and TV Production/ Journalism respectively.

b.      The Institute will be reposition into a world class film and media training institution for the overall benefit of film practitioners, stakeholders and the training of youths in film and media arts for self- employment and job creation.


6. EQUIPPING OF DUBBING, SOUND AND EDITING SUITE FACILITIES
The Corporation secured support from TETFUND and has put in place state-of-the-art editing suite which is one of the best digital studios in Nigeria.  The features of this equipment are 3.754 processor, 32GB Memory RAM, 2-Finepro D300 graphics, processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory each, 1terabyte flash storage and six thunderbolt 2 ports high speed 1/0 devices.

The editing suite has the capacity of capturing:

1.      4-5K video footages,

2.      Newest version of Apple Mac Pro and it is the third purchase equipment in the country.

3.      Softwares including Final Cut Pro X,

4.      Avid Media Composer, and

5.      Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) 2015

7. FUNDING OF SHOOT! TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING PROGRAMME

This indeed is one of the most unique introductions by the Nigerian Film Corporation in the area of capacity building. SHOOT! is an annual training and capacity building programme for film practitioners, media and information officers in both public and private sector, students and stakeholders among others. The objective is to impact professional expertise, exchange ideas, engage in lively discussions, learn practical experience in content creation as well as provide knowledge on managing film businesses effectively.

The training is designed to expose film practitioners; media and information officers in public and private sector, students, academia and stakeholders to the latest film production and post-production techniques as well as acquaint them with recent technologies in production and post-production equipment available globally.  The Corporation is targeting 300 participants to attend and participate at this training programme.

Funding of SHOOT! Training and Capacity Building Programme will enable film practitioners to apply the knowledge acquired in the production of qualitative films that are of international standard and thereby further making the country a noted film nation.


8. UNCOMPLETED STUDENTS HOSTEL (MALE AND FEMALE) SINCE 2009
The completion of the students’ hostel of the National Film Institute (NFI) has become necessary in view of the challenges faced by students in securing accommodation. The hostels when completed which will enhance students comfort for learning. When the hostels are completed it is expected that students of the National Film Institute (NFI) will now have access to standard hostel accommodation with utmost safety. Currently, work is ongoing at the site the contractor promise to handover the project to the Corporation in few months to come.

9. INFRASTRUCTURAL DEVELOPMENT
The Corporation pursuit with vigor and secure the support of intervention from TETFUND from overflow from University Jos in two basic areas:

a)      Critical Film Equipment, Critical Film Equipment, which among others include 100 IMAC Computers, 4 Editing suites, 3D Studio Composition Animation software Mini Sound and Production Stage, measuring 15.60 x 10 x6.3 meters. Some of the critical equipments are ARRI L7-C, Dido Light Fellon Technopro; Spectro LED-9 Lights, including Chroma  Key Green Screen, Lens- ISCO Precision Optics; a Multi Media Panasonic Projector – PT – DW5 and DVD 12 Loader Duplicators.


A.    The various architectural, engineering drawings and Bill of Quantities (BOQ) for the Lecture Rooms and Offices has been produced. The specifications and the BOQ for the critical equipment have also been produced by the University of Jos. Prequalification advertorials by the University of Jos were placed in the Blue Print newspaper of April 14, 2015 as part of the procurement processes. It is the hope of the NFC that the flag off of the supply of the critical film equipment and the construction of the lecture rooms and offices will commence in due course.

10. PRODUCTION OF SHORT ADVOCACY FILMS AND DOCUMENTARIES 

Funding has remained a constant factor in the inability of the Corporation to produce short advocacy films such as antigay, anticorruption, nationalism and patriotism, ethical values as well as documentaries of government programmes are well publicized.

The Corporation galvanized its efforts and secured the following collaborations in the production of short advocacy films.  They institutions include:

1. UNICEF

2. Women for Africa Foundation

3. UNICEF collaboration in promoting Women’s engagement in peace and national security in Northern Nigeria etc.

4. NFI and French Embassy Collaboration
The French Embassy is partnering with the National Film Institute on training and capacity building. A Memorandum of Understanding has been prepared in this regard. Similar contacts have been made with the Chinese, Spanish and German Embassies in Nigeria as well as the British Council.

5. NFI/ British Council Collaboration
The Corporation held a consultation with the British Council in order to organize:

a.         A Screenwriting workshop in the UK for students and lecturers of NFI

b.         Organized UK Education Exhibition in Abuja and Lagos in the first week of July 2016.

c.         Screening of footage on Nigeria from the British Archive at NFI

d.         Training of one archive staff

6.  Screenwriting Programme
The British Council in collaboration with UK National Film and TV School (NFTS), the National Film Institute (NFI), the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), and the African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) has designed a screenwriting programme to connect script writers and tutors. The project is aimed at bringing together; inspiring and motivating contemporary screenwriters to explore develop and create screenplays through a range of high quality workshops, mentoring and development programme delivered by top industry professionals.

7. British Council Script Junction Project
The Corporation was represented at the International Film Script workshop organized by the British Council. The project is designed to connect UK and Nigerian scriptwriters in a bid to explore film trends, cinematic identities amongst participants from Nigerian and UK.

The second leg of the workshop was held in Lagos under the platform of African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) from the 8th -14th November, 2015. The initiative is against the backdrop of film as a potent tool for cultural diplomacy amongst both countries and the need for a concerted effort to explore the trends and cultural peculiarities which will greatly influence script contents and patterns.

11. MEDICAL FACILITIES FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF OF THE NATIONAL FILM INSTITUTE (NFI)
As part of its welfare enhancement programme for the students and staff of the Institute, the Management established a Sick Bay to cater for emergency and minor cases especially during film production activities.  The Sick Bay is being equipped and functional.  In the meantime, management has approved a revolving drug fund for the facility. In addition, the Management is working towards registering the Clinic with the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).


12. UNCOMPLETED STUDENTS CAFETARIA BUILDING -2009

This facility which construction work has reached advanced stage needs to be completed so that students of the National Film Institute (NFI) are provided catering services. The completion of this standard cafeteria will align the Institute to other film institute’s globally and will cater for the catering needs of the students and stakeholders alike.


CONCLUSION
Despite the numerous challenges and constraints arising from the obsolete act, paucity of funds faced by the Corporation, it is worthwhile to emphasize that it was able to attract infrastructural facilities and film equipment such as Computers, the state-of-the-art Editing suite, and other development to both the film industry, NFI/NFC permanent site, which will enhance teaching and learning thereby fostering the employment generation drive of the present administration.

With the right regulatory framework consequent upon the passage of the Corporation’s NFC Bill, hopefully this year, it is the believe that the Corporation would be in better stead to catalyze the much needed development of the film sector with far reaching development for the turnaround.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Emmanuella - Mark Angel Comedy



This child actor and comedian packs quite an impressive and astonishing punch even with her size and age.  The story of Emmanuella of the Mark Angel Comedy group is true of the fact that though everyone will not be a star, a star can come from anywhere.


I was at an event in Port Harcourt, Nigeria a few weeks ago and it was a pleasure interacting with this kid star. When I was called out to present an award to Emmanuella, little did I know that the little talent was intent on giving the audience and her fans yet another dose of rib cracking moments. It all comes to her quite effortlessly and I must say that she deserves all the encomiums and accolades coming her way.




She has come from a humble background and by dint of hard work, has risen to the ranks of the most watched African females online with over 100m YouTube views and estimated to have been watched 200 million times.


She recently featured in an Australian movie titled Survive and Die.



Emeka Amakeze writes...