Managing Director of the Nigerian Film corporation (NFC), Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, Thursday disclosed the readiness of the Nigerian film corporation to partner with the Nigerian foreign affairs ministry to develop the nation’s film industry.
Dr. Chida made this disclosure following the expression of interest of foreign agencies to partner with the NFC to invest in the Nigerian film industry, according to Chidia, Nigerians current status as the 2nd largest film producer in the world has become attractive to foreign countries as an investment destination.
Chidia in an interactive session with the Minister for foreign affairs Goeferry Onyeama at the Ministry’s headquarters in Abuja during a courtesy call, highlighted his achievements at the NFC. The NFC boss thanked Onyeama for approving a recent request made by the corporation which resulted in the establishment of a partnership deal between the corporation and France.
According to Chida, countries like France, Morocco, India and the USA have expressed partnership interest with the nation’s film corporation,Chidia added that the impetus of the foreign affairs ministry will propel the actualization of the proposed relationships.
He said “recently you (Geoffrey Onyeama ) authorised the Nigerian Film corporation to go ahead and sign the very first of its kind collaboration relationship with any country, it might interest you to know that Nigeria is currently the second largest film producer in the world having taken over from India.
“We do not have the usual collaboration with other countries,so this signature that you appended made the first authorisation with France to happen.
Speaking on the partnership deal with the NFC , Dr. Chidia revealed that France through its funding agency Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has expressed its interest to make an investment running into billions of naira into Nigeria’s film industry.
“Following that agreement, the funding agency of France that’s the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has written a letter talking about potential partnership working with the Federal Ministry of budget and finance. They have gone ahead to appoint a consultant, to conduct the study to look at awarding the contract sooner or later this year and this contract is going to run in other several billions of naira which our capital vote as an agency comes nowhere near.
“We are saying that with this particular relationship with France, the Nigerian film industry is experiencing a mega boost. It might interest you to note that Nigeria is the second largest film industry in the world in terms of number of films produced.
“When I came into office following the kind of cordial relationship the president had already established with the kingdom of Morocco using the OCP relationship they had. The Kingdom had interest in partnering with the Nigerian film Corporation (NFC) and we were supposed to sign the very first MOU with the kingdom but the agreement is yet to be in place for several reasons.
“Israel , India and other countries have expressed interest in partnering with Nigerians Film Corporation and with the kind of support the NFC enjoys from the ministry of foreign Affairs we request that the ministry acts as a stimulus to enable us to consume most of these relationships, Chidia added.
While appreciating the efforts of the foreign ministry at making Nigerian Films recognised abroad, Chidia disclosed that the Historian Film Institute in Washington DC, USA has recently communicated their interest to partner with the NFC to produce documentary films going back into history and Nigerian history.
He said “I want to use this medium to appreciate all that the ministry has done to make it possible for Nigerian films to be recognized abroad, also to inform you that the Historian Film Institute in Washington DC, USA has recently communicated their interest to partner with the NFC to produce documentary films going back into history and Nigerian history would be showcased for one year from june 2021 to june 2022 at the national museum and arts archive.
“For us to acquire a maximum achievement the input of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cannot be overemphasized so as to have the operational capacity needed to represent the foreign mission as I would also be speaking with the Washington press council after the event
“Film is a global product and Nigeria is doing very well, we need a more robust relationship between Nigerian Film Corporation and the ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to help the corporation grow bigger and better.
“Israel , India and other countries have expressed interest in partnering with Nigerians Film Corporation and with the kind of support the NFC enjoys from the ministry of foreign Affairs we request that the ministry acts as a stimulus to enable us to consume most of these relationships, Chidia concluded.
In his response the minister of foreign affairs Geofrey Onyeama, emphasised the importance of the Film industry in Nigeria particularly in job creation. Geoffrey reinstated the commitment of his ministry to support the NFC at attaining it’s goals especially in the area of facilitating investments from foreign countries and it’s agencies.
He said “This Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with France is a great achievement as France is also a great film producing nation. This is a very solid partnership as it also shows the credibility of the Nigerians Film Corporation. We would do everything possible to support you and to expand the range of creativity and productivity.
“This industry has led Nigeria to become the largest economy in the continent and it has also been an avenue for job creation.
“Very recently there was an Indian-Nigerian film that was just produced and this has birthed a nollywood and bollywood relationship and I believe that the sky’s the limit to what we can achieve together.
Geoffrey commended the Nigerian film practitioners for their record breaking achievements despite the less intervention from the Government.
In his words “What I am most impressed about and also congratulate Nigerians for is that nollywood is an industry that developed organically without government intervention and funding and this has shown the strength and sustainability drive of the industry. I am also of the belief that we have to be the primary consumers of what we produce to ensure sustainability.
“We have a rich literary, artistic and musical culture in Nigeria which are real sources of economic power and strength. We all know the importance of our cultural and creative industry, our film industry is the most valuable brand of Nigeria today around the world.
“I want to once again congratulate Nigerians Film Corporation and to reassure you that Ministry of Foreign Affairs would always support you especially in the areas of acquiring and extending foreign partnerships