The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed in January 2020 charged the apex film development agency, the Nigerian Film Corporation to intensify its operations and step up activities that will activate further growth in the industry and make the country the center of film festivals and markets in Africa.
Pursuant to this directive, the Corporation has commenced implementation of key and critical policies that will engender sustainable growth in the second largest film producing nation in the world.
One of such area of intervention is the provision of specialized training tailored toward addressing skill and manpower gaps through the nation’s flagship professional training workshop series, SHOOT. It expected the training workshop from the year in question will be fine-tuned and properly packed to not only appeal to filmmakers, but address fundamental aspects of film training that will enhance capacity in the industry.
The Corporation has also identified cities that will serve as training hubs for direct and impactful skills and entrepreneurial training for youths. The cities include, Asaba, Lagos, Ilorin, Kaduna, Umuahia, Bauchi and Jos. These cities will serve contiguous states in the reinvigorated training strategies that the NFC is introducing from 2020 with youths as target beneficiaries. It is expected that the hubs will be centers of full film production activities with positive impact on employment generation and wealth creation.
Moreover, the National Film Institute, Jos, the training arm of the NFC is being rejigged to continue to provide qualitative film training at both academic and entrepreneurial levels. Already, a committee on the review of academic structure and expansion of programs at the NFI is has submitted draft recommendations that will guide handlers in formulating innovative policies that will strengthen the capacity of the Institute to deliver on its mandate and create additional areas of film studies in line with demands for the film industry.
At the postgraduate level, the NFI has commenced the much anticipated Master Degree Programme in Film Culture & Archival Studies starting with the 2019/2020 academic session. This is in collaboration with the University of Jos and Goethe University, Frankfurt Germany. The programme which is maiden and the only of its kind in Africa in terms of curriculum and approach to study, is expected to equip entrants with technical and intellectual knowledge in handling issues of film archiving, an essential aspect of the film industry that has attracted less attention in the past.
Still on film archiving as an important aspect in the value chain of film production, the NFC is changing gears to her approach in film archiving, restoration and data base gathering. With support from her German partners, the Corporation is begun the processes of upgrading the National Film, Video and Sound Archive, the only repository entity of audio visual materials in Nigeria.
The Archive is already in receipt of a digital scanner donated by the German government that will aid the restoration and digitization processes in the archive of most celluloid films into digital formats that will be readily accessible. Staff of the Archive have also received training in Nigeria and Germany respectively on handling the rare machine and have started the restoration and digitization of some of the 5000 celluloid films in its holdings.
Some of the materials in the NFVSA holdings include movies, sound tracks, film posters. The digitization processes will ensure that all deposited materials will be protected under existing copyright laws of Nigeria. In cases of deteriorated motion pictures, the Archive will, with the consent of the depositor, undertake restoration and digitization.
In making Nigeria the hub of film festivals and markets in Africa, the Corporation also affirms that it will continue to make the Zuma film festival Nigeria’s flagship film festival by sustaining that it keeps holding annually and its scope in terms of participation is widened to attract more African countries and other nations of the world.
Again, the NFC is introducing the National Travelling Film Festival, otherwise known as the Nigerian National Film Festival to be hosted in collaboration with state governments.
The biennial Anglophone Film Festival between Nigeria and Ghana will be pursued to its logical conclusion. Other film festivals to be mounted by the NFC will include the Berlin-Lagos Archival Film Festival and Students Film Festival at the National Film Institute (NFI) in Jos.