The Embassy of Bangladesh in Nigeria has endorsed ZUMA film festival, as a catalyst for propelling the rapid development of Nigeria’s film industry. Describing it as the platform with the capacity to provide leverages to other film cultures across the globe, and elated by the giant strides and successes recorded by ZUMA film festival since it was rebranded in 2017, His Excellency, Mr. Masudur Rahman, Bangladesh’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, said that his country will partner and participate in this year’s edition of the film festival, scheduled to take place in Abuja, December 1st to 7th, themed “SHOW THE MONEY”.
Mr. Rahman, at a meeting with Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director/Chief Executive of NFC, at the Abuja office of the High Commission recently, described the growth of Nigeria’s film industry as spectacular and phenomenal, with great impact on the African continent and beyond. Nigeria and Bangladesh, he said shares strong commonalities in rich cultural heritage, storytelling, food and cuisine as well as pluralistic society as peace loving and enterprising people. Bangladesh, he further said, seeks to be a great ally of Nigeria in its quest to promote the development of its domestic film production enterprise through cooperation agreements. The High Commissioner also said that Bangladesh has a rich cinema culture and has sustained efforts in developing the sector, through the integration of digital technology in film production and exhibition, despite the love for the outdoor cinema by the Bangladesh people. The Bangladesh Film Development Corporation will work towards a co-production agreement with its Nigerian counterpart, the Nigerian Film Corporation.
The High Commissioner informed his guest that, the enthusiasm, hard work and determination of Nigerian filmmakers have made Nollywood films very attractive to international audiences, consequent upon which the time had come for Bangladesh and Nigeria to integrate further growth of its film industries, through a formalized cooperation agreement, which he averred had become imperative. He, therefore, committed his home country to fully participate and showcase its rich film and cultural endowments at Zuma Film Festival, 2021, during the dedicated Bangladesh Day at the festival.
Speaking earlier, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe conveyed his appreciation to Mr. Masudur Rahman for his assurances of the High Commission’s full participation, as well as the physical presence of filmmakers from Bangladesh at Zuma Film Festival 2021. He maintained that the rapid development of film industries by the two nations, despite documented challenges, provides the window for robust collaboration and partnership tailored towards developing the capacity and capabilities of its institutions, agencies and other sectoral stakeholders.
Dr. Maduekwe said that the exponential growth of Nigeria’s film production sector popularly referred to as Nollywood has led to increased content development, employment generation and wealth creation. Content creation and distribution across terrestrial and digital online platforms have become the new focus of Nigeria’s film production development, being driven by the NFC.
He listed the sustained efforts of the NFC in developing and strengthening strategic partnerships to include its collaboration with the German Government and its institutions, that eventually led to the commencement of a Master Degree Programme in Film Culture & Archival Studies currently being ran at the National Film Institute in collaboration the University of Jos, the deployment of the first digital film scanner at the National Film Video & Sound Archive in Jos, and the successful recovery and full digitization of the film “Shaihu Umar”. “The National Film Institute, Jos, shall be happy to receive students from Bangladesh on exchange programme”, he further said.
Dr. Maduekwe expressed NFC’s resolve to fully engage with its Bangladesh counterpart – Bangladesh Film Development Corporation, for the optimum benefit of Bangladeshi and Nigerian film stakeholders through the envisaged mutual cooperation, and robust film and cinema relationship.