By Al-Amin Ciroma
Published in LEDERSHIP, December 13, 2008.
The day was Thursday, December 4, 2008. The weather was cool as a result of the downpoor at Lagos Planet 1, Maryland, which hosted the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) in a two-day workshop on “Film and Media Master Class”. Over the years, NFVCB, which was established by Act 85 of 1993 as the official regulating agency for the film and video sector of the Nigerian economy, took the mantle of transforming the giant and blossoming entertainment industry in Nigeria to the international level.
The primary duty of the board is to contribute to the positive transformation of the Nigerian society through the censorship and classification of films and video works whilst balancing the need to preserve freedom of expression within the law, and limit social harm caused by films.
In his speech to declare the workshop opened, the director-general of NFVCB, Mr. Emeka Mba, said the Nigerian entertainment atmosphere has plenty opportunity in building distribution channels. He said: "We have started it all and we need to be firm and government support to get to the global arena and meet up with trends in international competitions." Mba charged the stakeholders to take advantage of the ample opportunity brought to them and transform their business as well as propel the entertainment industry in Nigeria . He said, there are banks and financial institutions who are willing to extend their support to movie makers in making standard projects as their quota in nation building. Adding that, "As a movie maker, you don't need to go begging banks once you have good ideas, just put in the context of how both parties will benefit." The NFVCB boss advised the practitioners to have clear vision. "A financier needs to know how to get his profit and their monies back. So, once you believe in yourself, you will have total support from financial institutions and bodies."
Mr. Mba told the participants, who are mainly registered distributors and exhibitors, including some key movie makers, that there is strong bond between Indian government and Nigeria in creating avenues whereby both countries will benefit from each other in movie making. He said, his board (NFVCB) is looking forward to inviting one of Bollywood's top directors and choreographers, Farah Khan come January, 2009. "We are inviting Khan from Bollywood to come and handle a master class workshop on choreography and other film techniques in January, so that our local stakeholders will benefit more."
The film and media financing master class is built to cover every aspect of international film finance, production and distribution. It explored various forms of finance, including studio, co-productions and independent financing. The event was designed to help to educate potential investors about the life cycle of a film and investment opportunities.
The interactive workshop addressed and digested some of the frequently asked questions by the financiers:
(a) Who really produces movies?
(b) How are films chosen for production? How are scripts developed?
(c) Who decide how much is going to be spent to make the movie and how?
(d) What are the roles of the producer, executive producer and director?
(e) How involved is distribution and finance in the decision-making process?
(f) What is the role of the sales agent in the modern era of film financing?
(g) What is the role of banks in film financing?
(h) How is talent attached?
(i) What is co-production and how do co-productions actually happen?
(j) How do the investors get their money back?
Considering the importance of the workshop, the organisers (NFVCB) invited seasoned international and local personnel from among the entertainment to the discussion fora of the two-day event. Top among the speakers was, Sanjay Salil, managing director, Mediaguru Consulting , India . Mr. Salil started his career with the print media and worked with leading Hindi daily newspapers in India . He was part of the growth and launch of India 's first 24-7 private TV news channels in India . He founded Mediaguru in 2003 with his ever-growing experience in media. In his presentation, the mediaguru boss explained how Indian entertainment evolved. He also discussed the initiative by the Indian government and its FDI policy in putting all structures in place for a liberal and transformed investment policy window for the movie stakeholders in his country.
The second speaker, Tim Johnson, who is a lawyer by profession, has been a partner in the media & communications group since 1995. He advised extensively on all aspects of media and communications law, with particular emphasis on film and television financing. In his presentation, Mr. Johnson discussed the overview on knowledge and experience across talent, film, television, brands, music and sports. He also spoke on financial matters.
The third speaker, Mrs. Babi Subair, who is based in Nigeria is the managing director of Fountainhead Media Limited. She was into the investment banking field prior to setting up her organisation.
Miss Parminder Vir Obe was the third and final speaker of the workshop. She is an executive producer and media consultants, UK . An award- winning film and television producer, Miss Parminder, made her presentation based on how to set up an ingenious cinema. In her presentation, she focused on a case study of a well packaged film that failed to close finance, and the lessons to be learnt there in.
The second day was a roundtable interactive presentation and license distribution to registered and recognised distributors and exhibitors. The event was presided over by the minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. John Odey. Being first of its kind in the history of film and movie industry in Nigeria and culmination of three years of hard work by the board under the able leadership of its DG, Emeka Mba.
Mr. Mba stated that the Nigerian film industry has global promise, but first the situation at home has to be put on a sound footing to be able to play a global role.
In an interview with our correspondent, the assistant director, Corporate Affairs of the board, Yunussa Tanko Abdullah said, "The NFVCB in its efforts to reform the movie industry in Nigeria initiated the distribution framework as a platform to build an industry of strategic national importance. The drive to build a sustainable structure and stimulate growth in the film and movie sector of the economy is the catalyst for this framework."
The event drew participation from the legislature, government agencies under the ministry of information, corporate organisations as well as members of the public and the press.