MOPPAN REPRESENTED AT CONGA MoU SIGNING CEREMONY
The heads of guilds and association of the Nigerian motion picture industry, on Thursday August 5, 2010, held a historic event of forming a redoubtable organisation that will foster and promote its mandates in order to in their bid to re-brand Nollywood. The congregation, which was tagged Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Association (CONGA), was spearheaded by the heads of all the guilds and associations.
The event kicked- off at exactly 11:57 am with a comedian Emeka Smith trilling the audience with rib cracking jokes. Nollywood actors, Keppy Bassey-Ekpeyong and Stella Damasus were the hosts of the event. Before the event started, a minute silence was observed for a number of Nollywood actors and actresses that have passed away in recent times.
The MoU signing ceremony and the event Chairman, Mr. Bond Emeruwa, said, it is time to begin to protect the Nigerian film industry with a view to enable it grow bigger and better as well as increase its capacity to assist other emerging film industries all over the world. Having given a voice to the black race and empowering the struggling film makers of Africa how to express themselves using the tube.
Also speaking, Paul Obazele, the Association of Movie Producers' president, said the coalition is working in conjunction with the Interpol and security agencies in the country to ensure that the new guidelines are enforced without hindrance. It will be recalled that the history of filmmaking in Nigeria goes back to 1958 with the production of 'Freedom' by PA John Ifoghale Amata, followed by 'Shaihu Umar' by late Adamu Halilu. But it did not achieve recognition until 1992, this, the coalition committee argued that the time has come for the need to come under one umbrella to promote their common and collective interestr and represent in all matters on their collective behalf thereafter.
Guilds that took part in the MOU signing ceremony include: the Directors' Guild of Nigeria (DGN), Association of Movie Producers (AMP), the Actors' Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Nigerian Society of Cinematographers (NSC), Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN), Creative Designers' Guild of Nigeria (CDGN), and the Nigeria Society of Editors (NSE). Others are the Film & Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN), the Motion Picture Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN), and the Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners (ANTP).
Adding colour to the event, a fifteen minute special introductory documentary about Nollywood was shown to the guests. The documentary was in appreciation of Nigeria's movie producers, director's actors and actresses who go through hell in making movies despite the obvious difficulties that the industry is faced with.
In a speech delivered at the event by Bond Emeruwa, the president of Directors Guild of Nigeria [DGN], the movie producer said that they are working towards developing and enhancing Nollywood. "Today marks the beginning of the journey into re-branding the industry. We must all pull our resources together to take our movie industry to the promise land." He said.
Also on the agenda was the issue of piracy and an elixir was proffered. Ambassador Olusegun Olusola who was also present at the event said that the movie industry started years ago with government initiating ideas for the development of the industry. He further urged everyone in the industry including the government and private organisations to support the thriving industry.
On distribution, according to the coalition chairman, Emeruwa, “the coalition wants the National Film and Video Censors Board(NFVCB) to ensure that any foreign film seeking to be distributed in the country is censored in addition to having such film registered with the film and video producers as well as the marketing association of Nigeria with the following; A none refundable fee of $10,000, A censorship certificate from the country of origin, A copyright certificate from the country of origin and from the Nigerian Copyright Commission.
However, noting that the new guidelines were put in place as a further effort to protect and inculcate laudable ethics in the nation's film industry, the coalition remarked that any local film producer who parade one or more foreign artistes in his or her film will be treated as a foreign film at the point of distribution except, a situation where a proof of having satisfied the conditions as stipulated above is demonstrated.
Meanwhile, reacting to this development, Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Mr. Afolabi Adesanya, when contacted distanced his establishment from the new policy, saying “they are on their own.”
However, while the new guidelines are a welcome development to the industry, observers have expressed reservation over a possible clash of interest coupled with disagreement with the regulatory bodies.