Film com­mis­sion bill breathes new life as Nol­ly­wood in­jects own blood

From dis­miss­ing pro­vi­sions of a bill to re­make the Nige­rian Film Cor­po­ra­tion (NFC) chiefly over ‘non-con­sul­ta­tion,’ Nol­ly­wood has rec­om­mend­ing amend­ments sug­gested by its var­i­ous guilds and as­so­ci­a­tions.

Weekly Trust - - Entertainment - On­imisi Alao

The NFC has faced chal­lenges that have made it very dif­fi­cult to ef­fec­tively dis­charge its man­date. One of the prin­ci­pal chal­lenges has been leg­is­la­tion. The en­abling law is out­dated and re­quires ur­gent re­view. Even the nomen­cla­ture ‘Cor­po­ra­tion’ has turned out to be an al­ba­tross; es­pe­cially in the global sphere where the norm is to have a film com­mis­sion. This has re­sulted in many lost op­por­tu­ni­ties for the in­dus­try.”

Those lines formed part of the in­tro­duc­tion to a re­port that Nol­ly­wood has sub­mit­ted to the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, cur­rently work­ing on a bill to al­ter the name and func­tions of the NFC.

The re­port, pre­sented on Jan­uary 24, 2017 by Mr Madu Chik­wendu, a for­mer na­tional pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Movie Pro­duc­ers (AMP) who co­or­di­nated a group of Nol­ly­wood lead­ers con­sti­tuted to mar­shal in­dus­try views, as­serted that with­out ap­pro­pri­ate leg­is­la­tion, “it has been im­pos­si­ble for the NFC to sign a sin­gle co-pro­duc­tion treaty,” a func­tion the in­dus­try rates highly.

Nol­ly­wood lead­ers never ques­tioned the need for a new set of laws for the NFC, but the sub­mis­sion of the Nol­ly­wood Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee re­port was the first time in the life of the Nige­rian Film Com­mis­sion Bill that Nol­ly­wood would agree both in prin­ci­ple and in de­tail to the al­ter­ing of the film cor­po­ra­tion into a com­mis­sion with cor­re­spond­ing new le­gal pro­vi­sions.

The Jos-based Nige­rian Film Cor­po­ra­tion should not have been at the cen­tre of the con­tention over the new bill, but it was. The Nige­rian Film Com­mis­sion Bill be­came con­tentious in De­cem­ber when film­mak­ers re­jected it, ac­cus­ing the cor­po­ra­tion of not bring­ing the in­dus­try into the pic­ture and for con­se­quently mak­ing a bad job of it.

The charge had come from film­mak­ers who also said the NFC was propos­ing reg­u­la­tory pro­vi­sions that would have the re­sult­ing com­mis­sion usurp the func­tions of some other agen­cies and in­sti­tu­tions.

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Com­mit­tee on In­for­ma­tion had hosted a pub­lic hear­ing on the bill on De­cem­ber 6, 2016 only for some in­dus­try play­ers who at­tended the hear­ing in Abuja to leave to their La­gos base with a grudge and to ad­dress a press brief­ing weeks later to op­pose it.

“Not only did we not have prior in­for­ma­tion to this hear­ing, the clauses that make up the bill for the com­mis­sion are in­im­i­cal to the growth and devel­op­ment of the prac­tice in Nige­ria,” Pres­i­dent of the Di­rec­tors Guild of Nige­ria (DGN), Fred Amata said at the De­cem­ber 22 press brief­ing to which he led some other in­dus­try lead­ers.

“And the ma­jor ar­gu­ment that we are posit­ing is that a lot of the clauses of the bill are du­pli­cat­ing al­ready ex­ist­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions housed in dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Film and Video Cen­sors Board (NFVCB) and the Nige­ria Broad­cast­ing Com­mis­sion (NBC),” Amata added.

The in­dus­try lead­ers di­rected their anger at the Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of the NFC, Dr Dan­juma Dadu whom they cast in the role of spon­sor of the bill. Pres­i­dent of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Movie Pro­duc­ers, Ralph Uwadike told re­porters at the De­cem­ber 22 brief­ing, “I think he (Dadu) should be told in clear terms: you can­not come and usurp what you don’t know.”

Ris­ing for him, the NFC be­gan its 11-page state­ment it pre­pared in the wake of the storm that the Nige­rian Film Com­mis­sion Bill was be­ing spear­headed by the Na­tional As­sem­bly, as spon­sored by the deputy ma­jor­ity leader, Hon. Umar Jib­ril. The cor­po­ra­tion in­di­cated how­ever that it was sup­port­ing the bill, although it had im­prove­ments to sug­gest, be­cause the NFC en­abling bill was long due for change.

The NFC said in its state­ment that an African Union doc­u­ment in 2003 urged film pro­duc­tion coun­tries to es­tab­lish film com­mis­sions, and that Nige­ria re­mained the only coun­try with a cor­po­ra­tion su­per­vis­ing its mo­tion pic­ture in­dus­try. It said that, more im­por­tantly, the Film Cor­po­ra­tion Act that es­tab­lished the NFC in 1979 was lack­ing in scope.

Hon. Umar Jib­ril who con­firmed that he was in­deed the spon­sor of the bill that had be­come a sub­ject of so much in­ter­est, said the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives had good in­ten­tions for the film in­dus­try.

“A com­mis­sion has more ca­pac­ity to act for the in­dus­try; it is wider, richer and allem­brac­ing, with rel­e­vant MDAs in­cor­po­rated to act for the in­dus­try,” Jib­ril said in an in­ter­view with Daily Trust, adding that, “Peo­ple should look at the ad­van­tages of the bill even if it is com­ing from the MD (Dan­juma Dadu).

A good num­ber of the 23 amend­ments the com­mit­tee sug­gested are ar­tic­u­la­tions of ob­jec­tions that the in­dus­try play­ers had ear­lier raised, es­pe­cially around their view that some of the pro­vi­sions of the NFC Bill merely du­pli­cates ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion.

For ex­am­ple, where the bill says in Sec­tion 3(1) b that the com­mis­sion should have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to ‘Pro­vide guide­lines and set stan­dards for the es­tab­lish­ment of film and video in­fra­struc­ture such as film schools, film vil­lages, film pro­duc­tion stu­dios and film multi-me­dia cen­tres by the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor,’ the Nol­ly­wood Tech­ni­cal Com­mit­tee recommends, “Film schools are reg­u­lated by Na­tional Board for Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion (NBTE) and Na­tional Uni­ver­si­ties Com­mis­sion (NUC). Film stu­dios will be reg­u­lated by Mo­tion Pic­ture Coun­cil of Nige­ria (MOPCON). This bill is al­ready be­fore the Na­tional As­sem­bly and this is the pre­ferred op­tion of the in­dus­try.”

Sec­tion 8.3(1)h of the bill, which wants the pro­posed com­mis­sion to ‘Main­tain a data­base of per­sons, or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­sti­tu­tions, equip­ment fa­cil­i­ties con­nected with the film in­dus­try,’ the com­mit­tee re­marks, “This is al­ready a func­tion of NFVCB and MOPCON.”

Hon. Umar Jib­ril, spon­sor of the Nige­rian Film Com­mis­sion Bill

Dr. Dan­juma Dadu, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Nige­rian Film Cor­po­ra­tion

Mr. Madu Chik­wendu, head of the com­mit­tee that co­or­di­nated Nol­ly­wood’s in­pute to the film com­mis­sion bill

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