By Temitope Ponle
The Nigerian Government has expressed its readiness to partner with Japan and France to develop the Nollywood movie industry and its actors through animated films in line with its diversifying the economy.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, said this on the side line of the second edition of the Animated Film Festival organised by the Japanese and French Embassies in Abuja on Wednesday.
Mohammed told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that government was set to partner with japan and France to build the capacity of the country’s movie industry and its actors.
“What we have seen here is another genre of movie making and I am sure we will be able to partner with both Japanese and French embassies in the capacity we are building for our movie industry.
“We agreed to work together because the Japanese are developing this animation industry quite tremendously and they promised to partner with us again in capacity building.
“With technology in the movie industry, the potentials are limitless,” he said.
French Ambassador to Nigeria Denys Guaer explained that animated films had become an important part of the movie industry globally, adding that it created jobs and promoted the images of countries.
Gauer said cooperating with Nigeria in that sector would give more visibility to animated films in the country, which he noted, “has still not been developed”.
“Animated film is very well developed in many parts of the world that is why we organised this festival with the Japanese Embassy, bringing Japanese and French production and screening them here in Abuja.
“Animation in France occupies a lot of people and in Japan it is a trademark.
“So, you see how important it has become even for the image of modernity and of creativity of a country and at the same time it is a business.
“It brings in money and there is a new market to occupy in Nigeria; that is why we want to make it more visible and cooperate to develop that segment in Nigeria.”
He also added that the country’s history and culture could be promoted through the art of animated movies.
Earlier, Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria Sadanobu Kusaoke said that “the animated film festival is a good starter” of cultural cooperation between both countries.
Kusaoke further said the three countries could share experience they had in the movie industry.
“I hope this (the festival) can start a trilateral exchange in animated film and creation among Nigeria, France and Japan.
“I am sure there is much we can learn from Nollywood’s and Nigeria’s filmmaking,” he said.
This second edition of the Animated film festival will close on Nov. 5 and will show French, Japanese and Nigerian animated films.
The festival will include some short film screenings and a panel discussion in partnership with some Nigerian animation studios based in Abuja.
Canada had also promised to assist the Nollywood in animated film making.