Veteran filmmaker, CEO of WAPTV, Wale Adenuga feels there is a need to have a national body for filmmakers. In a chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, he said, a keener assessment of the situation in the industry would show that we just have a lot of glittering without substance. While this industry has enormous potentials that could benefit our nation and the people, there are challenges militating against the appropriate positioning of film making in Nigeria.
He went further to highlight some points, which included the history of filmmaking in Nigeria. The first and most important issue we have to contend with, in my opinion, is the cold war amongst producers of the Igbo and Yoruba ethnic groups over the history of filmmaking in Nigeria. This is the least of our problems as a house divided against itself cannot stand.
We now have Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa operating under the aegis of Nollywood, Yorubawood and Kannywood respectively. Even within these groups we still have infighting and misunderstanding over leadership.
Wale Adenuga is of the opinion that an umbrella association is inevitable for filmmakers. He said, “Our industry is the only one in Nigeria where you do not have a national body or association.”
This country cannot speak of a national association of filmmakers, the way doctors talk about the NMA, lawyers, NBA and journalists, NUJ. It’s true we have all manners of guilds but these are all based on sentiments. I am persuaded to believe our inability to come together under an umbrella is one of the reasons we have some problems.
He emphasized lack of quality control. He said, “The all comers nature of the business of filmmaking in Nigeria is the reason for low quality films. We do not have a quality control mechanism and this has resulted in loss of confidence by patrons over and over again.”
Piracy which has made many producers lose hard-earned money was also raised. Wale Adenuga said, “The inability to fight the hydra-headed monster of piracy with one voice has made more people join the pirates club. A survey by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said nine out of 10 copies of Nigerian films are pirated. This has frustrated many practitioners to the extent that many have jumped out of the boat to join politics or take-up some other employment. Real passion for acting is fast becoming a thing of the past as a lot of our actors move to big spenders the moment they become popular.
The truth is that less than 10 percent of practitioners make money from filmmaking. Majority of the Lekki houses and posh cars are acquired from other sources other than filmmaking.”
He said, “The long lack of government support, both national and state has done little or nothing to assist the Nigerian film industry until the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan initiated a N3 billion intervention. It is true that some state governments have, over the years, supported individual practitioners but there is no widespread impact of such support in the industry.”
Wale Adenuga, who has been in the film industry for close to four decades feels there is a need for unity in the industry. In his words, “It is true the Nigerian film industry has gone through evolution over five decades, but I do not think the issue of who started what and when should be our priority now. There is an adage which goes, to put your bag on your head, you need to bring both hands together or possibly seek the extra hand of your neighbour. I suggest practitioners find a way to work together as one, no matter where we come from. This is the only way the industry can move forward.
I suggest we start with the formation of truly national guilds for all the professions that make-up the industry. They include producers, directors, make-up artists, editors, actors, production managers, set designer, location managers, cameramen, continuity men, costumiers, lights men, sound managers and marketers, amongst others. All these guilds will elect their individual presidents and these presidents of guilds will come together to elect the president of the overall association of filmmakers. Government should ensure cinema culture is promoted by the three tiers of government. I also think government needs to institutionalize any funds it may have for the industry.”