Cover Stories, Entertainment

Actors lament as Yoruba movie sector nosedives

1-yoruba actors

‘Blame piracy and poor economy,’ they echo

The situation of the Nigerian movie industry is nothing to write home about at the moment. And the Yoruba sector has been adjudged worse hit.

An inside source disclosed to ENCOMIUM Weekly that most actors have turned paupers as the hitherto juicy career can no longer earn some of the practitioners their living.

Speaking further, the source explained, “Things are very tough now in the industry, especially among those of us in the Yoruba genre. A lot of us can’t afford three square meals any more. We only parade in fake lifestyles. Some can’t even afford rent. And the reason now is that not many people have money to shoot movies. And if at all they have, they’re afraid of piracy which is the major problem of the industry.

“Also, the current economic situation doesn’t help matters at all. Only very few among us are able to cope, not even through acting but other businesses. It’s rather very sad that the hitherto rosy industry has nosedived.

“Movie producers are not making any profit again. If you see any of us premiering a movie, not because of anything but just to recoup part of the money invested in that movie. And our mentality is that we all rely on movie marketers to sponsor the flick. Even, for the premiere of the movie, we recycle the same set of people as sponsors and launchers. And most of these people are tired now. Most marketers are not even encouraged to finance movies at the moment because with continued activities of pirates, they’re not sure of making anything out of their efforts. That’s why you see many actresses who have godfathers, sugar daddies opening up different businesses, and whenever location calls, they honour the call. But the situation is not the same with men. You just have to over work yourself to survive. We live fake lifestyles now.

“The economy is so bad now that Nigerians even prefer fake products. That’s why pirated movies are always in high demand. People can’t afford anything original again. So, that alone gives a boost to the nefarious activities of pirates. Now, some actors didn’t even care how much they’re paid, they just want to be making ends meet which is even very difficult to achieve at the moment.

“I believe it’s only when the Federal Government is ready to support us in our fight against piracy that we can succeed. We alone can’t win the battle.

“And we’re still appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to work on the ailing economy which has affected every aspect of our lives in Nigeria, especially the poor masses who ease tension by watching movies. Most of them can’t even afford quality CDs now but pirated ones that are 6 or 8-in-1 jacket. Immediately a movie is released, you will see the pirated copies flooding the major roads and markets, especially in Lagos. We can’t continue like this. Things just have to change!”

Some actors ENCOMIUM Weekly contacted on this also corroborated the ugly situation. They equally pleaded with the Federal Government to redirect its policies towards revamping the economy while piracy law should also be strengthened to accommodate serious penalty for the offence.

In his submission, famous thespian, Saidi Balogun (James Bond) said, “My brother, it’s true there is poverty in the industry at the moment. So serious that people find it difficult to cope unless I want to be economical with the truth. Although, it has not just started, it’s only getting worse. We only hope things will be better. It’s just a matter of time and patience.

“But to be sincere, it’s very difficult to cope in the industry now. I only hustle to survive now. Piracy has always been our major problem. Not only in the movie industry, it cuts across everything we do in Nigeria.

“Movie industry is not what it used to be. Most of us can’t charge professionally again. We just settle for whatever the producers are ready to offer. Most of us producers are afraid of investing in movies now because of pirates who are always waiting to reap where they didn’t sow. We just want the Federal Government to come up with a strong anti-piracy law so that those criminals will not send us out of the industry. Equally, we all need to speak in one voice, have a common umbrella. Let’s all the associations come to one body so that we can fight and conquer the menace.

“Also, poverty in the country at the moment is worrisome. We all hoped things will change since we have a new government but the reverse seems to be the case. But I still believe things would be better soon. It’s just a matter of time.”

Also corroborating Balogun’s submission, renowned actor, film maker and director, Antar Laniyan spoke with dismay on the dwindling industry, appealing to the government to come to their aid in terms of strict law against piracy and monitoring of such law to ensure it’s fully enforced.

“Yes, there is poverty in the industry, especially the Yoruba sector of it. A lot of us are suffering. We find it difficult to cope. I think piracy is the major problem. No one will be interested in putting his money on a quality movie only for such a beautiful effort to be scuttled by some enemies of progress called pirates.

“We need serious law against piracy and for such a law to function properly, it must be monitored strictly by law enforcement agents.

“Our economy also has to improve because no one can think of buying quality movies when they have not fed well. And it’s when people buy our movies that we can be encouraged to produce more. If we don’t work, how do we live? And not everybody can beg. Not even at my age. It’s very sad the way the industry is now. Government just has to intervene while we also need to pursue our goal with all sense of purpose.”

Speaking in the same vein, Alhaji Adebayo Salami, famously addressed as Oga Bello stressed, “It’s worrisome, I mean, the poverty level in the industry due to the activities of pirates and poor economic situation Nigeria is going through now. We only need to appeal to the government to help us by strengthening anti piracy law so that those killing the business will be brought to book. What’s the essence of investing hugely on a movie that will be pirated at the end of the day?”

According to popular actor cum film maker, Yinka Quadri, “To get out of the menace, we need serious attention of the government. Our law makers should make a very strong law against piracy, not the one that a culprit would only pay just N10,000 after having pirated about N20 million worth of movie. That’s unfair.”

In her opinion, actress Kikelomo Kuojo said, “I think we all need to carry placards and protest against piracy. Then, we need to seek the support of the government in making sure all these pirates are arrested and prosecuted. If few of them are dealt with, I believe the rest would pack up their illegal business. We’re all afraid of producing movies now unless you have a strong and committed marketer or executive producer that can take the risk.”


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