While the leadership of the docile Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) are still figuring out how best to interface with the industry and provide a platform for the internationalization of movie industry dubbed Nollywood, the practitioners have taken it upon themselves to look out for platforms that would provide access for Nollywood’s films in Africa, America and in Europe. Even though clearly a function of the NFC and the NFVCB, they have taken on the onerous task of popularizing Nollywood’s films and providing the platform for fostering distribution opportunities in Europe.
Through their effort, Nigeria has an opportunity to present the very best of its contemporary Nigerian cinema to the Nordic audience and industry when the 2015 edition of the Gothemburg International Film Festival opens on February 4th in Gotemburg, Sweden. Seven Nigerian films, most of them critically acclaimed, have been selected for screening at the prestigious Gothenburg film festival in a special focus programme on the vibrant Nollywood industry. Perhaps this will be the first time in recent history that seven Nigerian films will feature at a Europe based international film festival.
The films that made the final list out of the over fifty films that were recommended to the selection panel are Kunle Afolayan’s critically acclaimed film October 1, CJ Fiery Obasi’s O-Town, Michele Bello’s Flower Girl, Greg Odutayo’s Beyond Blood and Falling the film by Uduak Isong Oguamanam. Others are Mo Abudu’s wave-making film Fifty as directed by Biyi Bandele and Code of Silence, which was written by Bola Aduwo and produced and directed by Emem Isong.
Artistic Director of GIFF Jonas Holmberg explained that the general idea behind the focus is firstly to present contemporary Nigerian cinema to the Nordic audience and industry. Holmberg also stated that the special focus programme on the Nigerian movie industry was designed to create a platform for a discussion about the state of Nigerian cinema today, addressing the artistic and economic situation in the Nigerian film industry, and the reasons for the success of the Nollywood model in Nigeria and elsewhere.
‘’So we are going to have a seminar as part of the special focus programme where we shall find out from the panelist, what achievements have been made, what are the reasons for the success it has recorded, what problems is Nollywood now facing and what future is the current development pointing to’’ he said.
On the criteria for selection of the seven films that will be showcased at the festival, Holmberg said the intention is to give a high-quality overview of new artistically ambitious Nigerian cinema. Also he said ‘’ the films don’t necessarily need to fit under a ‘Nollywood’ label. They can be both fiction and documentary. But an objective is also to favor films directed by female directors and films that have stood out and been in the center of social, political or esthetical discussions about Nigerian cinema’’.
The Gothenburg International Film Festival (GIFF) is an annual film festival in Gothenburg and it is reputed as the largest film event in the Scandivania. The 10-day festival was launched in 1979 and has grown to become an important meeting ground and marketplace for filmmakers.