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Monday, June 18, 2012

Nollywood Needs Film Festivals To Grow


Hope O. Opara, President/Co-Founder of Eko International Film Festival.


Festival President and co-founder of the Eko International Film Festival (EKOIFF), Hope Obioma Opara, says Nollywood industry needs more film festivals to grow, they open and will still open up Nollywood to the rest of Africa and the world. Opara, publisher of Supple Magazine speaks on preparations for the 3rd Eko International Film Festival, which holds later in the year, hinting that entries for the festival opens as from July 1 to September 30.




The experience of the maiden edition

We were still trying to introduce the festival to the world with the first two editions and the process is ongoing because a lot of Nigerians still don’t know how it works. We have spent time enlightening those who care to know that a film festival is an industry of its own aside from preproduction, production and postproduction of movies. The festivals are progressive as the years go by; so, the second edition of the film festival was quite easier than the first in terms of film submissions, venue, publicity and attendance.

Tackling the challenges of the 3rd edition

There are not many challenges in terms of film submissions, publicity and attendance because the festival is registered as a global event. For instance, we have started disseminating information to the world through our platform for film submissions. We have been following some corporate organisations for support.
One thing that is clear is that it is tedious to stage an international film festival because it’s usually a weeklong-multitasking event that includes workshops, panel discussions and film markets. More over, we are introducing the first ever Nollywood Divas Award at the 3rd Eko International Film Festival to celebrate the leading ladies in the Nigerian film industry.

We are ready with 3rd Eko filmfest

The film festival runs from November 5 to10. Entries will open in July and close in September. We are expecting entries from Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the world. Our programmes include international film market for film distributors and commissioning agents, where they can trade on their films and close deals for co-productions. We are introducing the Nollywood Divas Awards, as a way to celebrate the leading ladies in the Nigerian film industry. It is one of the major highlights of the 2012 edition.
We decided to effect a change in the festival hosting month from July to November because of the heavy rains we experienced last year. Movement in Lagos becomes a major problem whenever it rains. We don’t want our visitors to have the funny experience and chaotic traffic problems associated with heavy downpours.

We need film festivals

The fact is a film festival is a good platform to foster the growth and development of film business in the world today. We need film festivals to expose our local filmmakers on new developments in terms of producing films that will attract international distribution and co-production to increase the mileage and patronage of our local movies in the global village. A film festival allows cinephiles to have one to one interactions with filmmakers, which gives room for synergy, co-productions and collaborations.
Film Festivals have film markets where movies are traded thus, contributing to the Nigerian economy. Hundreds of thousands of tickets are sold at major international film festivals and thousands of visitors pay for hotel accommodations, transportations and other services, enriching states and countries hosting them.
I don’t agree with the school of thought that we should stop film festivals, because of poor film distribution. Yes, we have the issue of piracy, but I believe that the Federal Government should not allow the stakeholders to fight pirates all alone. Government agencies authorised to handle the issue have been doing their best, but more still needs to be done in terms of modern applications for distribution through digital technology.

The trademark issue

From the inception of the film festival in 2009, Supple Communications Limited has secured the trademark for the Eko International Film Festival and it has, also been registered on the World Film Festival Network. This means that the highest authority governing the activities of film festivals, the International Film Festival Summit (IFFS), recognises Eko International Film Festival.
Our foreign partner is the co-chair of the European section in Paris. He is on the board of European Film Academy and has one of the biggest film festivals networks in the world. That is why it will be an aberration for anyone to duplicate the trademark.
Author of this article: BY SHAIBU HUSSEINI

 

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