PROJECT ACT (Advancing Creativity and Technology in Nollywood)

PROJECT ACT (Advancing Creativity and Technology in Nollywood)
by

1. Background on the Nollywood industry

According to a recent World Bank and UNESCO Reports, the Nigerian movie industry (a.k.a. Nollywood) is either the most or second most prolific movie industries in the World (see Table below), employing over 200,000 people directly and providing about one million job opportunities indirectly. The industry also has the capacity to generate at least US$400 million a year in revenues, with a significant portion of this spread across a very high number of relatively poor people. Over the last decade, the industry has experienced exponential growth and acceptance, both nationally and internationally.
Films produced per year, by country
Films produced per year, by country

Nollywood is culturally dominant across Africa and African Diasporas, with a captive viewing audience of over 200 million people. It has been estimated that the Nigerian domestic market represents only 40% of total film DVD sales; 40% of sales are made across the rest of Africa and up to 20% in Diaspora markets around the world. The economic potential of Nollywood has also helped the industry serve as a tool for catalyzing the process of national cohesion, identity diffusion and citizenship being a strong exporter of the “Proudly Nigerian” brand. Despite the growing prospects of the industry, certain problems persist and pose a serious threat towards the continued growth of the industry.

2. The Challenges in this sector include the following:

• The Nigerian movie Industry currently suffers from poor enforcement of Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights allowing piracy to thrive and cripple industry performance.
• Nigerian movies are widely shown all over the African continent on national broadcasting networks without payment of any royalties to the original ?lm makers.
• Due to the lack of formal training academies in the Nigerian movie industry, the industry severely suffers from a lack of technically competent people. Most successful movies made are done with the support of technical crew from the diaspora.
• Lack of proper supportive infrastructure and quality equipment across the supply chain of the industry particularly in areas like production and distribution.
• Poor access to financial support systems that encourage the production of quality movies of internationally acceptable standards.

To ensure the continued growth and development of the industry, it is imperative for training programs should be targeted towards capacity and technical skill development across the entire value chain of the industry.

3. PROJECT OBJECTIVES

• The Project’s overarching objective is to encourage Nollywood’s sustained growth, as well as address some of the challenges currently facing the industry. Essentially, the program aims to improve and promote key components of Nollywood’s value chain through the provision of grants schemes designed to support existing or aspiring practitioners within the industry.

4. PROJECT COMPONENTS

Project Nollywood will have three (3) primary components:

A. A Film Competition; this will identify and support film production projects on a competitive basis (including the best film scripts). This will be implemented in two phases:
i. A Script Writing Competition. This competition will seek to identify 100 movie scripts that have the potential to be blockbusters, as assessed by a panel of judges, and will follow this process:
• An open invitation to existing or aspiring scriptwriters for a synopsis of what the movie is about. This should be no longer than 2-pages;
• The applications will be assessed and the best 500 synopsis will be identified. This will include 200 from Mainstream Nollywood (English-based), and 100 each from the regional genres (Hausa, Ibo, and Yoruba);
• This will be followed with a specialized workshop on scriptwriting for the selected 500 applicants
• The 500 applicants will submit their movie scripts after the workshop (professional scriptwriters – members of Nigerian Scriptwriters Guild – who do not need a workshop may not attend);
• A panel of judges will select 100 movies (40 English-based, and 20 from each the three regional genres), and each will receive N1 million prizes, in addition to exposure to movie producers, who may produce the scripts.

ii. A Film Project Competition. This is set aside for film producers /production companies, as they are the ones with the capacity to take a movie from script to distribution and create direct and indirect employment. The competition will identify and support 100 film production projects (40 English-based, and 20 from each the three regional genres) with grants of up to N10 million. This 100 film projects may include scripts identified through the scriptwriting competition, or other projects at various stages (including pre-production (scripting, budgeting, location, cast and crew); production (shooting, film set); post-production (editing, sound, and graphics), and distribution/exhibition (selling the movie to audiences)). In other words, the film project submitted for evaluation in the competition is left at the discretion of the applying producer.

• A panel of judges will select the winners of the grant. The panel will be supported with project appraisal and due diligence from a financial institution with experience in film financing.

B. A Capacity Development Fund dedicated to supporting training and skills acquisition for the entire value chain of the Nigerian movie industry. This will entail:

i. Short, intensive, training courses aimed at improving technical skills in all facets of film production, including Scriptwriting, Directing, Acting, Cinematography, Make-up, Special Effects, Animation/3-D Animation, Editing, Sound Mixing, Set Design, HD and other digital technologies in line with international technology trends. This will be targeted at existing practitioners in the industry, identified through registered membership of industry guilds and associations like the Nigerian Society of Cinematographers, Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria, Association of Movie Producers, Directors’ Guild of Nigeria, Creative Designers Guild, and so on.

• Grants could be given to existing institutes that offer film training; however, the trainers/institutes must be competent enough to train according to global best practices (preference will be for organizations partnering with training programs from reputable international film institutions).

• Individuals will benefit through participation in the training on a free or subsidized basis. This should be done through an open call for applications using the various guilds and associations as dissemination channels for participation.

• Applicants must have a number of year experience working currently in a relevant capacity in the film or TV industry in Nigeria, and must have English language skills to ‘competent user’ or above.

ii. A Capacity Building Grant; given to an institution (preferably the Nigerian Film Institute) to upgrade its equipment and develop capacity to train the value chain of the Nigerian Movie Industry, on a sustainable basis.
C. A Matching Grant Fund to support the development of the industry’s infrastructure and equipment, particularly the distribution and exhibition infrastructure (including Cinemas, retails outlets, digital streaming, DVDs, etc).

• Given limited grants, funding arrangement would be in partnership with a financial institution like NEXIM, on the basis of equity – grant – loan, with loan to be availed upon the availability of equity and grant. The funds will be made available on a first-come-first-served basis, subject to business viability and acceptability of loan counterpart funding.

• Individuals/Companies wishing to invest in new distribution/exhibition facilities (e.g. cinemas and retail outlets) would be provided with (xx%) grant on acceptable/verified cost of project in cities with cinemas, and (xx+10%) in locations/cities without cinemas. This is with a view to facilitating dispersal of distribution framework nationwide.

• The proliferation of cinemas and distribution outlets would enhance government internal revenue generation of film box-offices receipts through V.A.T 5% and WHT 10% and states entertainment tax of 5% on tickets sold.

The website is www.projectactnollywood.com.ng.

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Afolabi and Adedeji Adesanya, the Adesanya Brothers (aka A-Brothers), are back again! From the stable of A-Productions, they gave us such classics as Vigilante (1988) and the capital market financed Ose Sango – Sango’s Wand (1991). They are teaming up, though not for a production but for training and capacity building in the creative arts on the platform of Sagamu Business and Arts Institute (SBAI).

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