Collaborate to grow Africa’s film industry — filmmaker

BY: Samuel Doe Ablordeppey
Femi Odugbemi is a renowned movie producer in Africa.
Femi Odugbemi is a renowned movie producer in Africa.

Nigerian filmmaker, Femi Odugbemi, has said Africa’s movie industry can only go far with collaborations and partnerships among players along the value chain.

Speaking at the ‘Digital Dialogue 2018 Conference in Dubai’, United Arab Emirates, the Tinsel producer said, “There should be an atmosphere of collaborations between Ghana and Nigerian movie industries and not competition.

The African film industry in general needs collaborative treaties among one another.”

Mr Odugbemi also expressed misgivings about the unwillingness of Silverbird Cinemas in Ghana to accept Nollywood movies.

He said that posture by Silverbird was also provoking a reprisal response from Nigerian Cinemas, which is not good for the industry on the continent.

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Nigeria has about 130 cinemas of world class standards, with about 70 of those being built in the last two years.

Ghana has only about 30 screens, mostly in the malls, with the National Theatre and International Conference Centre coming in as complements.

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Explaining why Silverbird Ghana is reluctant to accept works from Nollywood, Mr Odugbemi assigned two reasons.

First, foreign movie producers, especially from Hollywood, sign agreements with Silverbird months ahead in ways that Nigerian or other African film producers are unable to do.

The second issue, he says, is about Silverbird giving preference to Ghanaian movies over others.

To solve the second challenge, he suggests that stakeholders collaborate to produce Ghanaian-Nigerian movies so that they could make it to screens in both countries.

The African film industry has often seemed left behind in all areas.

However, with the advent of new filmmakers, many of who have polished their skills at some of the world’s biggest movie industries, the continent’s film industry is seeing a resurgence that gives hope.

Now, new formats and channels of film distribution represent the new frontier for the African film industry.

According to the filmmaker, not only are there improvements in the quality of Nollywod movies with the help of new equipment, software and applications, but the movies are now distributed in various formats on different digital platforms.

“Distribution used to be hand to hand in DVDs and VHS formats. But digital solutions, including the Box Office, cinemas and online broadcasting, have now helped to break down the barriers and challenges,” Femi stated.

‘The Digital Dialogue Conference’ is an annual thought leadership event by Multichoice Africa, digital terrestrial broadcasters better known for its DSTv and GoTV brands, to stimulate conversation around emerging terrestrial broadcasting.