The home video saga in Nigeria is already phenomenal all over the world. But let us take time out to straighten out some thoughts and taught. Given the quantity of problems Nigeria faced since independence, especially in the last 15years, there is need absolutely for the Nigeria people to be excessively dynamic. Breaking all necessary barriers of economic norms and processes, Nigerians have emerged a new economical order, especially in the Movie Industry sector tagged « Home Video Film ».
The business of film making in Nigeria, like many other African countries, dated back to Pre-colonial rule, when Government used filmmaking as political propaganda. Given the period (economically), the British who were the Masters, and being one of the first world countries, the minutiae for filmmaking were astute, the Expertise were superb-rate for that period. From this propagandist point of view, some Nigerians had learnt the business of filmmaking for a more pleasurable, educational and informative reasons. So it was a bit easy for some Nigerians to join the rest of the advanced countries in filmmaking almost immediately after we got independence in 1960.
After due exhaustive live performances, and theatre on the wheels, the likes of late Afolabi Afolayan (a.k.a. Ade-love), late Hubert Ogunde, and Moses Olaiya (a.k.a. Baba Sala) came on the scene as filmmakers, and all their films were shot on 35mm. It was an excessive boom because the culture of patronizing the Cinema theatres was still the in-thing. Because the boom was obvious, the banks and other such institutions of investors could rely on the film investment for gain, trust the industry and then could accept a « feeble » for collateral. Consequent upon this, other generation of filmmakers who had studied filming abroad came on the scene; (Ola Balogun, Eddy Ugbomah, etc.) until mid ’80s when the collapse of the Nigerian ruling system and its economical values was imminent. This fall reflected grossly on other sub-sectors, NGOs, Associations etc. down to the common individuals on the streets. And naturally, people began to invent other means of survival positively or otherwise. The film sector dwindled until gradual shot down of notable Cinema theatres; entertainment generally became a non-starting event. Those in the film industry who could not but continue to produce film, even when it was obvious that it is almost impossible sake of financial implications, lack of security for people to go to Cinema theatres, training facilities in country dropped, etc. resorted producing Home Video.
The Home Video producing started as a one-man business. It was an import and export Merchant, Chris Rapu, who needed to sell his loads of empty VHS tapes brought into Nigeria, resorted to recording an enactment of a Igbo story of a man who because of money, signs a pact with the devil. Before this time, Mr. Nnebue (a.k.a. NEC) had been doing some recording of some Yoruba films, also shot with a VHS camera, until Chris Rapu came with this hit. This success opened up the Home Video film business dominantly to other Igbo marketers of electronics. Some of the newly trained and old filmmakers (Tunde Kelani, Femi Lasode, Amaka Igwe ‘Ladi Ladebo and even Moses Olaiya a.k.a. Baba Sala) who had left the industry out of frustration, came back and began to attempt the use of beta-cam, and some, DV-cam. As critics grew, production output increased from 2 a week to 7 a week and more. The marketing strategy is a « bric a brac » style, relying solely on Idumota local Market in Lagos, Onitsha and Aba in the Southeast.
Structure and regulations were not considered, as many weren’t thinking of an industry, but what they could milk out of the system. Because the Marketers are the strong hold of the business, Home Video film became an all-comers affair; they dictate what they want to the Professionals. And so, they could call for a recess (from March to early April) when they needed it. But the recess was only to empty their stalls of too many unsold films. Home Video Film business is a one-man business that has triumphed on the culture of « copy-cat » to spread all over Africa at the detriment of the Professionals and the Profession.
The scenarios are quite obvious. The entire Nigeria economical disposition is in juxtaposition to so many other sub-sectors’, including the home video industry. All over the world now, the news of the successes of the Nigerian home video is getting aggressive by the day despite the huge short falls, the entire economical wounds, lack of structure and regulations and maladroit machinery of Organizations and Associations. Nigeria Actor’s Guild (NAG), National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN), etc. are all a part of this shame. Democratic dispensation in Nigeria merged with the seeming successes of the Home Video films, from the rabble of decadence from the Military era has again lit the dark corridors of our hearts and streets. People now trudge to the cinema theatre (National Arts Theatre Iganmu, FSP hall Ikeja, Pen cinema Agege, etc.) on weekends to watch films, mostly Yoruba films. With the teeming rush, special magazines for advertisement of films, TV ad programs for films, the number of films released in every two weeks has risen to 15 films- 8 english from Igbo producers, and 7 yoruba.
Comparing to what obtains in the Western world, one would readily agree that the whole arrangement is disheartening. Still, as a third world country there is an obvious opening for the Government to capitalize on, especially with the spade of unemployment in the country. If the Marketers Association who care less about the structure of the industry as far as they are making their profit, could be converted through intense formal training in the business of filmmaking. And the Professionals re-organize themselves, Associations, firm to their duties, Censors Board live up to its responsibilities, and the Government providing a practical Policy, then the Nigeria economy is sure of serious boost in the filming sector.
///Article N° : 2831