Nollywood steals show at Kenya International Film Festival

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It was a memorable day for the Nigerian motion picture industry in Kenya, as the presence of Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji, her counterparts; Ramsey Nouah, Tina Mba, Kunle Afolayan and Gideon Okeke brought thousands of their East African fans, who desired to catch a glimpse of the actors, to the Prestige Plaza, venue of the Kenya International Film Festival.

Apart from the youths who could be said to be motivated by the Nollywood stars, older Kenyans, among them, University lecturers, students of literature and filmmakers where on hand to interact with Professor Wole Soyinka, who was the headline personality for the event tagged; Nollywood Road Show.

Organised by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), the event presented two of Nigeria’s best movies of recent time- Kunle Afolayan’s Figurine, which stars Ramsey Nouah and Mahmood Ali-Balogun’s Tango with Me, which featured Genevieve Nnaji and Tima Mba. Both movies had won the selection of the NFVCB as tools of strategic marketing window for Nigeria.

The Nollywood Road Show is a part of the agency’s Nigeria in the Movie (NIM) project which, Emeka Mba, Director General of NFVCB says is geared towards redefining the identity, influence, character and image of the country.

The International Road Show is therefore premised on creating further investment opportunities into the movie sector through the synergy that may arise from a network created by participating and promoting Nigeria at the KIFF for example.

The involvement of Soyinka, the pride of the black race and the only African Nobel Laurete winner only created the bond expected of the African cinema rather than the competition associated with the seeming dominance of Nollywood movies.

The Professor, who shared the podium with KIFF’s Festival Director, Charles Akiba noted among other issues, the need for Africa to synergise as a film industry, same way, that efforts are ongoing to create a caucus of African literature.

“There is the need to get businessmen to teach the filmmakers how to market their wealth. I have been on the film jury since the 60s and I know that Africa has a long history of filmmaking.”

Soyinka who also answered to the question as to why some of his books have not been adapted into movies, said he is disposed to filmmakers who may be willing to do so as much as they have a good understanding of ‘Africaness’ that his themes deal with.

He noted that one of the reasons the movie on one of his books; Kongi’s Harvest was not successful was because the filmmaker, an African American did not understand well enough the African setting, culture, and mythology.