•Lagos doubles financial, training support for talents in creative sector
•Governor, U.S. Consul General attend 12th AFRIFF briefing
Better days are coming for practitioners in the creative sector with the proposed development of African Film City in Epe, Lagos State.
Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, disclosed that ground breaking for the $100 million project will be done in coming weeks to enhance originality in content creation in Nollywood – Nigeria film industry.
Sanwo-Olu made the announcement at the 12th African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) Press Briefing held at the Banquet Hall, Lagos House in Marina.
The news excited veteran filmmakers, movie producers, Nollywood actors and celebrities who attended the briefing organised at the instance of AFRIFF and its sponsors.
The Governor also disclosed that the State Government would be doubling the capacity building support for talented young industry players to enhance their skills in modern filmmaking. Besides, Sanwo-Olu said the grants being given to creative young talents for the production of short stories will be doubled.
Sanwo-Olu assured the filmmakers of his Government’s commitment to providing resources and time in promoting anything that would put Lagos and the country on the global map.
He said: “We will be doing the groundbreaking for the African Film City before the end of this month. It is a $100 million project to be sited in 100 hectares of land in Epe. Lagos is taking the lead in promoting sustainable growth in creative industry. The first set of studios will be up on the site in the next 24 months after the groundbreaking.
“We are also going to be doubling the State Government’s support for the training of young industry players. We will also double the grants being given to creative young talents for the production of short stories. We have supported over 5,000 people in creative sector with different kinds of capacity building opportunities and film production grants to scale up the numbers in the sector.
“I am excited that the 12th AFRIFF is around the corner to further showcase the original local content to the world. The festival has offered platform for young talents to flourish. I believe this year’s event will be the biggest. We are excited as a Government to be part of it. We believe this is the right thing to do. It is only when we can hold ourselves together and tell our stories that the world will understand our history.”
Sanwo-Olu said there was no better time for all stakeholders to work collaboratively and churn out put quality contents that would confirm the position of the country as a global player in filmmaking, while attracting foreign investment.
The Governor urged the practitioners to use their ingenuity to create Africananised contents that would change the continent’s socio-cultural narrative. This way, he said the world would know Nigeria is ready.
He said: “We should take the world in an ingenious local way that will be original, content-driven and Africanised. I believe the 12th edition of AFRIFF will be a platform to leapfrog all shortcomings we have had. What you did not do yesterday, you have today to correct it because tomorrow is not promised.
“Lagos State Government, by itself, bears all the hallmarks of excellence in all aspects. Excellence starts from everything we can imagine; the creative community sits right in the middle of that. As a Government, we have committed to anything m puts Nigeria on the global map and supports our creative citizens on the world stage.”
Consul General of United States Consulate in Lagos, Mr. Will Stevens, said digital technology had transformed Nigerian film industry over the last decade, stressing that it was time for practitioners to fully benefit from Nollywood.
Given the quality content and advanced production capabilities of African films, the envoy said the second half of the 21st century would be “African moment” to fully expand the growth of its cinema industry.
AFRIFF founder, Chioma Ude, said the film festival would be held next month to celebrate African cinema and promoting original storytelling.
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