Bimbo Manuel is a Nigerian actor with a degree in Theatre Arts; he began his career as a television broadcaster in 1985 at Ogun State Broadcasting Corporation before commencing his acting career in 1986.
The ace movie director and popular actor tells Anthony Amenaghawon that fund isn’t the major challenge facing Nollyhood, but ineffective copyright law.
How has Nollywood contributed to promoting the Nigerian culture?
We need to define culture in the context of who we are, our history, culture and tradition. We have been able to promote culture with Films like Phone swop, October 1of Kunle Afolayan. This promotion of culture is seen October I: the way we dress, language, houses, marriages, naming ceremonies, burials to mention but few.
In terms of National development?
It has contributed in no small measure to national development but no exact worth has been made known for now. We have had over five million people gainfully employed. The capital studios set up, equipment bought regular basis, printing, photography, marketing, costume, make up are all platforms of employment for the citizenry. A low budget film of 70 minutes instead of base 90 minutes of others is worth 2million or 25 million, Nollywood cannot be ignored at this point.
Role of stakeholders?
Our growth has been horizontal than vertical, we have been able to create jobs but a lot of mediocrity is found in the system, we are trying to grow quality in all aspects in the industry. We are not at the point of consolidation yet in terms of global standard. We aspire to put films on world stages and making better films.
Stake holders are ensuring that we train the trainers and replicate people who have made their marks in the industry.
Has the government been supportive?
When it comes to the crunch, our Industry is firmly rooted in the contributions and relentless efforts of creative individuals. The government needs to put policies in place that will catalyze growth that are protective of practitioners, copyright has to be given teeth, and antiviral laws must be passed. When government does these, practitioners and investors will know that the environment is safe for business. Giving money to the industry will not really help the industry grow as it ought to be.
Are corporate bodies doing enough?
They are doing enough in terms of using personalities to promote their brands. Everywhere these brands reach, the personalities also go with them. Without the brands many people will not be in the business of film making.
Major challenges and solutions
Funding– This is a major challenge. The panacea to it is that government through the central bank should make it easier for banks to lend money along structured lines. The stakeholders and financial institutions must be properly structured. Hence, you don’t have to drop anything as collateral to access funds to make a film or any project.
Guilds are not so functional-they must be well structured. The Nigerian Film Institute (NFI) must be replicated nationwide in all states and universities. Short, medium and long term courses in these film institutions must be made available for interested individuals. Experts from different parts of the world should be brought to train people in the different aspects of the industry and education in the art of your choice must be encouraged
Piracy-The government must put in place anti-piracy laws that will help curb this menace. Penalties must be put in place to curb the excesses of defaulters.