By Joshua Olomu
A university lecturer, Prof. Saint Gbilekaa, has called for dialogue between filmmakers, regulators and other stakeholders, to promote best practices in Nigeria’s motion picture industry.
Gbilekaa of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Abuja made the call in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kano on Friday.
He spoke on the sidelines of a capacity building workshop for officers of North-West Zone of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB).
The workshop with theme: “Film and Video Works in the New Horizon,” is holding from May 9 to 10, with stakeholders from the academia and seasoned industry practitioners.
Gbilekaa, who earlier spoke as a resource person on “Professionalising the Classification Process of Nigerian Films,” described Nollywood as a major contributor to nation growth, especially job creation.
He, however, said there was need for collaborative efforts between filmmakers, distributors and NFVCB, the regulator, to chart a common front to effectively maximise opportunities.
Gbilekaa noted that in line with the board’s statutory mandate of overseeing the film and video industry, a sustained roundtable between it and industry players would make the players to understand what was expected from them by law.
“A dialogue is needed between the NFVCB and those involved in the business of filmmaking because the sector cannot function well without the input of the board.
“Stakeholders must see the regulator as a partner in progress, who is out to ensure that national interest is protected.
“Such dialogue will make filmmakers willingly at all times offer their works for classification and licensing without being forced to do so.”
The lecturer advised Nollywood filmmakers and distributors to scrutinize their works in line with the nation’s classification requirements.
According to him, Nigeria is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, which must be put into consideration in producing a film, to avoid offending the sensibilities of one another.
He pointed out that a film that encouraged religious, racial or ethnic discrimination was harmful to the corporate existence of Nigeria.
He called for a review of the NFVCB legal framework to enable it to handle emerging trends in filmmaking and distribution in line with global best practices.
Apart from production, he identified distribution and exhibition of films and video works as well as adequate sanctions for offenders as some areas that needed new set of regulatory procedures.
“A lot of things have changed since 1993 when the law establishing the board was made, so it needs new laws to address the realities of the digital age.
“Five thousand naira sanction in some cases as obtainable in the current law, is too small to be imposed on a filmmaker, someone who is making millions of naira.”
The Executive Director of NFVCB, Mr Adedayo Thomas, disclosed that the board had fashioned out an integrated public enlightenment strategy, aimed at raising awareness of consumers, filmmakers and other stakeholders.
He said that the training was to provide officers of the board with adequate knowledge of emerging trends in censorship and classification of films in the digital age for efficient service delivery.
Thomas noted that the board, under his watch was keying into the Ease-of -Doing-Business mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“The NFVCB is serving the largest film industry in Africa, therefore, its workforce needs training and re-training and am committed to doing just that.
“This workshop is designed to be held in the six geo-political zones for our officers across the 36 states.
“In doing the classification and licensing job, every member of staff of the board needs good human and public relations skills and this is also part of this workshop.”