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“Greater rigour in the enforcement of the laws is required” Ikechukwu Obiaya

Tell us about yourself.

I am the director of the Nollywood Studies Centre. My role is ensuring that everything goes right. But I also intend to be involved in the discussions.

 

What can we expect?

This conference is the first one of the Nollywood Studies Centre, and we have chosen to focus on film distribution. We are hoping to be able to go beyond the talk and to come out with workable ideas. Various initiatives are cropping up in the industry, and we would like to be able to come out with a clear picture that would serve as a guide for those of the industry.

 

What structures need to be put in place for Nollywood filmmakers?

Quite a few things need to be put in place, really, but two of them are essential. In the first place, a distribution network that would reach the different nooks and crannies of the country and eliminate the vacuum that makes it easier for pirates to function. In the second place, greater rigour in the enforcement of the laws is required. The legal structures are already in place, but the manpower needs of the relevant agencies have to be beefed up.

 

What role can government and the private sector play?

The government can play a role by strengthening the capabilities of the relevant agencies to carry out their tasks of protecting the rights of the filmmakers. This, to a large extent, requires providing the right level of funding for these agencies. The private sector, on the other hand, can play an important role by investing in the industry. As the saying goes, to make money, you must spend money. The establishment of a national distribution network, for instance, can only be done with the due financing.

 

What would you consider as the greatest achievement of Nollywood in 2013?

Its ability to remain relevant in spite of the various challenges is an important achievement.

 

The Nollywood Centre organises a monthly forum, what has been the impact so far?

The Filmmakers’ Forum is intended to provide a platform for interaction among filmmakers and between the filmmakers and their audience. The impact, so far, is still fairly limited when you compare the number of persons that have taken part in the Forum with the number of persons actually engaged in the industry. But we are quite happy at the feedback we have received. Many have welcomed the Forum and have seen it as a platform for sharing and learning.

 

In one word, Nollywood is?

Perseverance.

 

Interviewed by Isabella Akinseye.

Photo: courtesy of Ikechukwu Obiaya.

This interview first appeared in Issue 5 of Nolly Silver Screen magazine.

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