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However, the lack of formal structures has so far discouraged prospective investors. The lack of financial support from either the government or financial houses has meant that filmmakers have had to depend mainly on private capital. Consequently, the capital base of the industry is extremely limited, and this has stunted the growth of the industry, especially as regards improving the available infrastructure.

 

A Cinema of Dependence

The problem of film funding is not peculiar to Nigerian. Raising funds for film production is a problem that has always been a chief difficulty for African cinema at large. Thus, recourse has often been had to foreign capital. The Francophone African filmmakers, for instance, have been able over the years, to count on assistance from France, but this dependence on foreign capital has, many times, meant a restriction of their artistic freedom. They have had to craft their films to fit into the perspectives of the donors as a means of obtaining the funds on offer. It is for reasons such as this that African cinema has been looked upon as a cinema of dependence since in many ways it does not stand on its own feet.

The Film Investment Summit

The challenge of obtaining film finance is the motivating factor behind the planned Nigerian Film Investment Summit, which will take place on the 10th to 13th of December, 2013. The goal of the summit is to create an avenue for sustainable investment in and development of the film industry.

The summit, which promises to be a high value learning experience, is being organised by the School of Media and Communication, FEPACI (the Federation of Pan-African Filmmakers) and Trend Media City. The partners aim, through the summit, to provide a major platform for networking and transactional opportunities among all stakeholders in the film and entertainment industry in Africa. Investors in the film industry, regulators and government agencies, financial institutions and lawyers are some of those expected to at the summit.

Highlights of the summit will include the inauguration of an investment fund for the creative industries sector and a business clinic on film, television and entertainment financing. It is hoped that initiatives such as these will provide the boost that this sector requires in order to attain its potential.

The film and entertainment industry is currently attracting the interest of investors and is said to be on the verge of a big breakthrough. However, such a breakthrough will remain only a pipe-dream if the right structures are not put in place. It is to be hoped that the African Film and Entertainment Investment Summit will be the catalyst towards attaining this end.

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