Again, Nollywood misses out at Cannes Filmfest

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One of the world’s most prestigious and essential events for the film industry, the Cannes Film Festival, will open in Cannes, south of France on May 11. The usual ten-day long festival which is in its 69th edition and which attracts over half a million people – mainly tourists, filmmakers, financiers and journalists is certainly the world’s biggest and well attended filmic feast. People and movie producing nations always desire to be in Cannes every year because of the immense benefits derivable from participating in such a big feast. For countries, the festival and others such as Berlinale, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance International Film Festival, FESPACO in Burkina Faso and the Nigerian based African International Film Festival (AFRIFF) provide them ample opportunity to showcase their finest cinematic output and potentials.

Countries like India, Kenya, South Africa and Morocco have always exploited their participation in Cannes for the benefit of their filmmakers and respective industries. On yearly basis, they mount huge pavilions at the International Village in Cannes, which feature their countries finest cinematic outputs including films, locations, production facilities and networking sessions for filmmakers who are usually sponsored to Cannes as delegates.

Nigeria through the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) has a history of participation in Cannes. The NFC under the leadership of the former Managing Director, Afolabi Adesanya had an unbroken participation at Cannes from 2006 to 2010 but missed out in the 2011 owning to the lack of funds and other editions afterwards. Although Nigeria has always participated without a film, either in or out of competition, officials of the NFC have always returned with their note pads filled with enquiries from foreign filmmakers and investors about production and co-production opportunities in Nollywood as the Nigerian movie industry is roundly dubbed.

But Nigeria will not be in Cannes this year and the NFC has not offered any satisfactory reason on why the corporation has failed to attend the prestigious festival since Dr. Danjuma Dadu succeeded Afolabi Adesanya in 2012, as Managing Director. The current leadership of the NFC has always blamed it on the ‘lack of funds’ but observers say the inability of the NFC to get the industry to be part of such prestigious movie meets has a lot to do with the inability of the leadership to convince government about the desirability of attending such filmic events. “If they are able to convince government as the former MD Afolabi (Adesanya) did in the years when he was MD, there is no way government will not provide for it in the budget,’’ a notable filmmaker and a member of the moribund advisory committee set up by Dadu on his assumption of office in 2012 said. “I don’t think the current MD has it as a priority and I don’t think he considers it desirable,’’ he added.

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Source: The Guardian