Monday, July 26, 2010

Nollywood slams N250,000 clearance fee on foreign Actors

The recent decision by the authorities of the Ghanaian movie industry to compel Nigerian actors who are plying their trade in Ghana to pay the huge sum of $1000 for every movie role or risk losing the job in that country may have incurred the wrath of their Nigerian counterparts who have risen to the occasion by returning fire-for-fire.

In a direct reaction to that ugly development, heads of Guilds of the Nigerian motion picture industry under the aegis of Coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Association(CONGA) last Tuesday rolled out stringent measures for foreign actors working in Nigeria.

The coalition said, the new guidelines are put in place to protect the Nigerian movie industry as well as regulate the activities of foreign practitioners in the country.

Speaking during the presentation of the guidelines to the movie journalists last Tuesday in Lagos, Mr. Bond Emeruwa, who represented the coalition explained that the new guidelines are not put in place to discourage foreign participation in the Nigerian motion picture industry, rather, the idea is based on the need to regulate the industry.

By these new guidelines, Emeruwa who is the president of the Directors Guild of Nigeria said, any foreign actors or producers wishing to work on a project in the country would be required not only to obtain clearance from the Interpol in his or her country of origin attesting to his or her status, but importantly, he or she must apply as a matter of fact for and obtain a written permission from the Nigerian film corporation.

Also, the coalition expects the prospective practitioner to apply for, and obtain a written approval from the coalition of Nollywood Guilds and Association through the appropriate guild or association that best represents the film practitioners' area of practice.

The coalition argued that given the conducive atmosphere which the industry provides for the foreign practitioners, there is imperative need for them to contribute financially to the growth of the same industry.

"Any foreign actor participating in any of Nollywood productions will be compelled to pay the sum of $2,500, while any producer or director working on a production in the country will pay the sum of $2,500 . Others include screen writer($2,500), production company($10,000), creative designer($2,000), production manager($1,500) and Assistant Director($1,500) amongst others." he listed.

On distribution, according to Emeruwa, "the coalition wants the National Film and Video Censors Board(NFVCB) to ensure that any foreign film seeking to be distributed in the country is censored in addition to having such film registered with the film and video producers as well as the marketing association of Nigeria with the following;

*A none refundable fee of $10,000

*A censorship certificate from the country of origin

*A copyright certificate from the country of origin and from the Nigerian Copyright Commission.

However, noting that the new guidelines were put in place as a further effort to protect and inculcate laudable ethics in the nation's film industry, the coalition remarked that any local film producer who parade one or more foreign artistes in his or her film will be treated as a foreign film at the point of distribution except, a situation where a proof of having satisfied the conditions as stipulated above is demonstrated.

According to the coalition chairman,"it is time to begin to protect the Nigerian film industry with a view to enable it grow bigger and better as well as increase its capacity to assist other emerging film industries all over the world. Having given a voice to the black race and sempowering the struggling film makers of Africa how to express themselves using the tube."

Speaking in the same vein, Paul Obazele, president, Association of Movie Producers (AMP), said the coalition is working in conjunction with the Interpol and security agencies in the country to ensure that the new guidelines are enforced without hindrance.

Meanwhile, reacting to this development, Director-General of the Nigerian Film Corporation, Mr Afolabi Adesanya, when contacted distanced his establishment from the new policy, saying "they are on their own."

However, while the new guidelines are a welcome development to the industry, observed have expressed reservation over a possible clash of interest coupled with disagreement with the regulatory bodies.


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 Interview with the Father of Nollywood

CNN covers the Nollywood industry

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