Dr. Chidia: National Film Institute to start awarding PhDs

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Kenneth Udeh,Abuja

The Managing Director and Chief executive officer of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, has disclosed that the National Film Institute of Nigeria will soon start awarding Doctor of Philosophy Degrees (Phd) to elevate the training standard for highly specialized manpower needed in Nigeria’s film industry.

According to Chidia, the move is also in line with the Federal Government’s initiative to boost the film sector bridge the nation’s unemployment deficit as identified in the economic recovery and growth plan of President Buhari’s administration.

He made this known while speaking during an interview to mark the “World creativity and innovation day”on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Network’s Nigeria Today while answering questions on his achievements as the MD of NFC.

He said ;
“On training because of the collaboration we signed,we are receiving funding which is double of our annual budget to build infrastructural deficit at the NFI that runs into several billions of Naira from France’s finding Agency the AFD (Agence Française de Développement).

At the National Film Institute; we started as a diploma awarding Institute; but now awarding BSc and masters degree and we are about to start awarding PhDs. That tells you Government is focused on NFI to train and get our youths busy.

Speaking further on the efforts of the Federal Government in the creative sector Chidia said the emphasis is being made towards the quality of film production no longer in quantity.

In his words;

“The Federal Government is doing much in enabling the capacity for training, especially at enhancing quality and facilities , deliverables that can help our very active young minds in the area of the film industry to wrap up their capacity and to improve on their quality because actually we are not talking about number anymore.

“I think the issue now is quality , so that they can remain globally competitive with other climes in terms of quality though we really already notably competitive when it comes to number; so now we are never focused on seeing it as a basis to enhance quality .

“So that when next you hear about OSCAR we will proudly take the center stage and when next you hear about blockbuster movies you will find out that Nigeria are dominant at the centre stage .

“Our aim is to use this to migrate millions of our youths out of joblessness because you have seen Buhari administration talking strongly as to what need to be done to move people away from the poverty circle to the where they can be better creators of wealth and this film industry is seen by Government as one of this low hanging fruits that can make that happen.

In terms Government’s intervention in the area of funding Chidia said ;

“Government has made available several intervention funds be it from BOI(Bank of Industry), or the most recent one which the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) is trying to set up at the ECO hub at the former National Theater,Lagos.

“The budgetary allocation for the Nigerian Film corporation being the central agency for galvanizing and developing film has also witnessed an increase.

“Recently through the appropriation benefit of the National Assembly we were able to launch our mobile film school which is the first of its kind , which means that the Government is ready to move around not just sitting at the NFI in jos to receive students for training. We need to domesticate training across the six geopolitical zones and Government is working though on their mandate.

“Government has also done much in making the environment conducive giving tax reliefs and all that and then investing more in the audio visual/ creative industry.

While fielding questions on the role of the NFC in the film industry Chidia disclosed further, that the NFC under his watch signed a contract production agreement with France which according to him will develop the film industry.

“Under my watch Nigeria was able to sign a co production agreement with France and that has yielded tremendous support in terms of development of the industry.

“Last year the NFC again was able to look inward and we had this collaboration arrangement with the defense headquarters and I want to say that there’s a recent film which the Airforce sponsored.

“There are also many such line ups, which is because we have a government agency that is focused on its mandate to see how the film industry will be developed and when you activate some of these collaborations then it is there for those who are in the industry to make use of them.

Speaking further, Chidia revealed further that the world Largest Film museum known as the Smithsonian Institute in Washington America will be devoting a whole year from June 2021 to 2022 to showcase Nigerian Films and Music.

Earlier in his remarks ,Fidelis Duker renowned filmmaker and founder Abuja international Film Festival who was also a guest on the show, commended the National Film Institute for its commitment in training film makers in the country.

He said ;

“There is this misconception about the poor quality of films withe produce in Nigeria,theere are poor as well as good quality films everywhere in the world even in the US and the UK. In this same industry we’ve films that have gone to major film festivals around the world to do well. In the midst of these bad films we’ve had very outstanding film makers who are doing well today.

“The quality of Nigerian films have improved over 20 years ago. Our people are even trying to train and retrain themselves and that’s one area that I will give credit to the NFC, they have been doing the alot for over 15 years and the have been consistent with training young film makers and NFI in Jos has produced one of the best cinematographers in this industry, they have done well with the school and that is one area I will commend them for.

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