The Federal Government was ready to spend 3billion Naira on a film village in Kano. Who would build a film village for the popularly known Nigerian film industry, Nollywood?
The Nigerian government recently announced that it would construct a film village in Kano aimed at creating jobs and bringing local films to a high standard.
That sounded like great news. That is what most filmmakers would love to hear. But I had questions. Questions like "Why Kano?" "Why Kannywood?" "Why not Nollywood?" "How was the decision to build a film village in Kano made?"
I got to find out that the film village was a Federal State Government project. So, I am not going to concentrate on the location. But I'm focusing on Kannywood getting a film village with support from the Federal Government. The film village was planned to have a cinematography centre, 400-capacity auditorium for training, hostel, sound stage, eatery block, three-star hotel, shopping mall, stadium, clinic, among others.
A film village which would have been modeled like a film center in China and India. So I asked again, "Why Kannywood?"
I also found out that the Hausa film industry specifically asked for a film village, so they were only getting their wish, probably the 'English speaking industry' or should I still say Nollywood, didn't crave for one.
The point here is, the Nigerian film industry as a whole is a major source of employment in this country, and if the Federal Government is capable of funding a film village as equipped as the above described, why should it be for a particular group? Why have they not considered building one for the Nigerian Film Industry popularly called "Nollywood," which is the officially recognized Nigerian film industry worldwide?
Would a film village in Kano provide employment to every Nigerian interested in an acting career? Would the proposed film village bring any sort of growth to the Nigerian film industry as a whole?
A week after the announcement was made, some Islamic clerics led by Sheik Abdallah Usman Gadan Kanya, opposed the establishment. The film village was described by the clerics as a plot to undermine Muslims and their religion by creating a hub for immorality. I am also not going to talk about religion and how a film village would create a hub for immorality.
Following the opposition, the project was cancelled, but the Federal Government was ready to spend 3billion Naira on a film village in Kano. Who knows, the Calabar government could decide to build one in Calabar for the recently established Callywood. According to Egor Effiok, who is in charge of the industry, Callywood is aimed at discovering and making stars 'in the state.'
Quick question, who would build a film village for the popularly known Nigerian film industry, Nollywood?
Before a film village can be built for Nollywood, every other woods must be eliminated. If a universal film village would ever be built in Nollywood, a universal and recognized body/structure is also needed. This is where a body like the Actors Guild of Nigeria becomes fundamental. It could liaise with the Federal Government or sponsors to birth a film village. Unfortunately, I doubt if the currently embattled body is in any shape to lead a movement for the creation of one.
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It is probably time to seek for a united Nollywood. One that wouldn't give room for conversations like "we are building a film village for Kannywood, Callywood, or Yorubawood."
It is just time to let go of all the 'woods' in the Nigerian film industry.