Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rejoinder to Fidelis Duker's Rantings on Nigerian Film Corporation and Abuja International Film Festival

“I refer to your mail on the above subject (Re: Report on Support and Assistance 2008) dated 12Th December 2008 and received in our office on 8Th January 2009. I will start by expressing our appreciation to the corporation and its Managing Directors since we started the Abuja International Film Festival in 2004 who have consistently supported the festival in the pass (sic) five (5) years. It is also important to mention that the Abuja International Film Festival is arguably the first independent film festival in Nigeria apart from the government owned National Film Festival which became Zuma Film Festival.”, signed Temitope Duker, Festival Coordinator, for Abuja International Film Festival, and dated 9Th January 2009. (Please see attached document).

In an interview with the Abuja International Film Festival founder, Fidelis Duker, conducted by Shaibu Husseini, published in the Sunday Magazine/ Moviedom Section of The Guardian (on Sunday), Sunday, 16Th September, 2012, page 29, Duker stated, amongst others:

“Don’t be deceived by the names of supporters on our event brochure.”

“I repeat with emphasis that there is no form of institutional support from any government agencies.”

“The NFC, as constituted, to say the least, is bent on destroying the motion picture industry and I make bold to say it. I even have the feeling that it is because of the Zuma Film Festival, which it organizers and which I do not even see as a competitor. NFC is out to kill all other film festivals, as it’s only a few film festivals such as AIFF that are still surviving and it is rather unfortunate. The present management whose function is developmental has unfortunately not been performing its statutory function, which is sad. Nollywood today is at its lowest ebb, but NFC (Nigerian Film Corporation) would not revamp it, rather it is wasting millions of tax payers money in attending film festivals abroad with empty stand; no films to show, not even in the market or short film corner.”

In an E-mail dated September 18, 2012, at 1:26 PM, Fidelis Duker wrote (just two days after The Guardian interview was published):

As mentioned Earlier, we have in the past hosted NFC initiatives, a good example was the 2011 Babylon workshop which was held during the 8th AIFF at the Silverbird Cinemas in September 2012 (sic). The correct year is 2011.

The letter from his wife, Temitope Duker, Festival Coordinator, Abuja International Film Festival, dated 9Th January 2009, and cited above; and his own E-mail quoted above disprove Fidelis Duker’s blatant lies, conscious denials, libel and deliberate misinformation.

The NFC has cross-checked her records and we wish to place on record the Corporation’s financial support/assistance to the organizers of Abuja International Film Festival (AIFF) as follows:

Year Financial Support

2011 N250,000

2010 N100,000

2009 N100,000

2008 N500,000

2007 N400,000

NFC’s acknowledgement and logo published in the festival brochures and publicity materials of AIFF are obviously well earned. Do not be deceived.

Apart from financial support, the Corporation has also through its programme, the NFC/EU Babylon International workshop held in 2010 and 2011 in Abuja, led a delegation of her foreign partners (Scenario Films, UK, and Scripthouse, Germany), international resource persons and participants from Europe and Africa to the AIFF 2010 and 2011 editions, thereby providing AIFF institutional government support, and content.

The Managing Director of NFC, Afolabi Adesanya, had always obliged AIFF goodwill messages (published in AIFF’s brochures) and honoured AIFF’s invitations (and non-invitations!), including participating in Panel Discussions. Photographs of his participation in AIFF’s programmes published in its festival brochures were definitely not photo-shopped. Do not be deceived.

The 1992 maiden edition of the National Film Festival (which, indeed, became Zuma Film Festival) marked a milestone in NFC’s efforts to promote and develop the Nigerian motion picture using the film festival platform through her own film festival, and international film festivals. At our booths/pavilions, we screen trailers of Nigerian movies (including those of Nigerians in the Diaspora), and other nationalities; we host workshops and seminars. As the pioneer film festival organiser in Nigeria, we are certainly not the competitor. We are the leader.

For the avoidance of doubt, we make bold to say it is not the job of the NFC to enter films she did not produce, or independent films (shorts, documentaries and features) in film festivals. That is the sole responsibility of the Producer/ Production Company.

The second edition of the annual Lights, Camera, AFRICA!!!, a film festival aimed at stimulating discourse on issues and experiences that are rooted in the African experience, will run from September 28 to Monday, October 1, 2012, in Lagos. The opening date coincides with the closing date of AIFF. Is this another NFC strategy to, “kill all other film festivals”? In existence alongside AIFF, are independent film festivals/markets such as BOB-TV, LIFF, AMAA, FIAF, GOFEST, iRep, etc. The list is still growing. Do not be deceived!

Further to her mandate to develop, and build human resource capacity for the Nigerian motion picture industry, NFC, in 1995, established the National Film Institute (NFI), the first of its kind in Nigeria. Between 2010 and 2011, the present management secured National Universities Commission (NUC) approval for her BFA degree programme in affiliation with UniJos; and NBTE approval for her National Diploma programme (vocational skills acquisition). NFI remains the only tertiary institution that offers training and capacity building at both levels. For the retraining of professionals on the job, the present management in 2005 introduced SHOOT!, which has boosted the careers of many professionals in both private and public employment. In partnership with the Katsina State government, NFC/NFI, have in the past three years being training and building capacity in the Katsina State Skill & Vocational Village.

NFC, in tandem with her local and international partners, such SMEDAN, NEXIM, FIRS, The Quartet (NBC, NFVCB, NCC & NFC), federal government agencies, State governments, the private sector, Scenario Films, Scripthouse, embassies, et al, will continue to provide all necessary support for the holistic growth of the Nigerian movie industry. That is our firm commitment. We remain resolved. Our enviable track record speak for itself.

Brian Etuk,

Head, Public Affairs,

Nigerian Film Corporation

No comments: