The Nigerian film industry otherwise known as Nollywood is a flourishing business with regards to number of movies being produced. Although, when it comes to quality productions, that’s another matter entirely; the industry continues to grapple with so many concerns. Amongst these concerns are distribution challenges, low-quality productions, poor infrastructure, lack of skilled manpower and many more.
However, these challenges existed right before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the entire world and sunk many businesses, industries and economies. Now that economic activities are beginning to pick up gradually, moviemakers in the Nigerian film industry are seeking out new ways to flourish through collaborations, partnerships, sponsored exhibitions, premiere events and the likes.
In this interview with Africa Movies Hub (AMH), filmmaker Kingsley Omoefe talks about ways the Nigerian film industry can rise to the challenge and proffer solutions to its numerous challenges such as the need for Nollywood to have more digital platforms, cottage cinemas, training of practitioners and many more as the sector prepares for the new normal after COVID-19 is over. See full interview below:
AMH: Please introduce yourself, brand, works, etc.
Kingsley: My name is Kingsley Omoefe Oyisama. I am an award-winning filmmaker producer and director. I am also a casting director and film teacher.
I am an alumnus of Colorado Film School, Aurora, Denver, USA. I also studied at the Prague Film School, Czech Republic and the National Film Institute, Jos. I also attended ThreeLA Film Academy London, UK. I also studied business studies at Lagos State Polytechnic.
I am the CEO of Golden Heritage films Ltd and Director of Studies, Heritage Film and Television Academy. I am also the Vice President, Independent TV Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN) and former Vice President, The Directors Guild Of Nigeria (DGN)
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AMH: Since you started your career, what has been the most challenging job you took on, and why?
Kingsley: State of the Heart movie, which I directed was my most-challenging because I was working with some of the best hands in the industry, some of whom watched me grow in the industry. These include Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD), Joke Silva, Kate Henshaw, Bimbo Akintola, Kepy Ekpeyong Bassey, Segun Arinze, Stella Damasus, etc.
AMH: If you had the opportunity to go back right from when you started, what will you do differently?
Kingsley: I wish we had better access to technology and training. I would have studied the camera and post-production more.
I wish we had better access to technology and training. I would have studied the camera and post-production more.
AMH: What are some of the most common misconceptions about what you do?
Kingsley: A lot of people think directing is easy and for everyone.
AMH: There are many common put offs that are peculiar with our productions in Nollywood such as poor subtitling, issues with sound, poor lightings, terrible scripting, awful directing, etc. Where and how do we begin to address these issues?
Kingsley: The issues have already been addressed. Practitioners are well trained now, we have access to better technology now, and it is even cheaper and readily available. Right now, there are no more excuses to not do a good job.
AMH: Independent film producers are supposed to gain much from the industry since they produce a bulk of the movies but are relegated to the background, and the bigger film companies take all the attention. Now that government and international economic organisations are clamouring for support for small businesses (independent filmmakers and distributors inclusive), what can be done to boost business for small-time filmmakers and distributors?
Kingsley: Truth is, every player have a space to play. However, we will need structures and legislation put in place to help properly structure the industry.
Also, access to funding should be made a bit easy using templates from countries with developed film industries.
AMH: From your personal experiences, do you think the Nigerian film industry can shelve training and retraining of practitioners (experienced and upcoming)?
Kingsley: Training and retraining of practitioners is very critical to the survival of the Nigerian film industry. We should keep training ourselves, if not you would be irrelevant as the industry evolves. Every now and then, new equipment and new technology are developed and put out.
Training and retraining of practitioners is very critical to the survival of the Nigerian film industry. We should keep training ourselves, if not you would be irrelevant as the industry evolves.
AMH: Tunde Kelani said recently that 80% of Nigerians don’t have access to the cinemas. By cutting off the DVD sellers because of piracy, we sell our films only to the rich and the middle-class. This means that a larger population doesn’t get to see these movies and a lot of monies are lost after production. What can be done to make Nollywood distribution business to be lucrative?
Kingsley: We need to develop and encourage more online digital platforms like IrokoTV, IBAKA TV, etc we also need to have more digital television platforms like DSTV, Startimes, etc.
As regards film distribution, we need to establish Cottage Cinemas which are in form of small viewing centres. They are also known as community cinemas. They are cheaper to operate and accessible to the masses. With cottage cinemas, filmmakers and distributors will have high patronages and generate lots of revenue for those in the film industry. It’s just like having additional sources of income into the film business.
With cottage cinemas, filmmakers and distributors will have high patronages and generate lots of revenue for those in the film industry. It’s just like having additional sources of income into the film business.
AMH: Please share 4 tips for new-comers who are hoping to become successful like you in the entertainment industry.
Kingsley: Be well trained, be focused, work hard and smart and be humble.
AMH: Anything else you might want to add; like new projects, programs, plans, etc
Kingsley: I am working on a couple of projects, two major soap operas, and a couple of movies. We also plan on launching a music label and the film school officially.