Lagos Governor initiates project to fund talent development

By Luqmon Balogun, Lagos

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The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has launched an intervention project that will reactivate the transformation of the Entertainment and Tourism sector.

This follows the inauguration of the Committee on Film Production Empowerment at the State House, Marina, Lagos.

A veteran filmmaker and Nollywood actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo is the Chairman of the nine-member committee, comprising five industry practitioners and four Government officials, selected to drive the vision.

The move according to the Governor is to fund youth creativity and entertainment activities in the State, to alleviate the sufferings caused by the spread of Coronavirus that impacted negatively on entertainment and tourism in the State.

The committee’s inauguration came months after the Governor set aside N1 billion seed capital to unlock the potential in hospitality and tourism businesses.

The scheme is to support creative ideas of movie and entertainment producers who are constrained by funds to bring their concepts into reality. Applicants are to be supported with funding based on the financial plans of their projects. The grant may be as much as N40 million for each beneficiary.

Tourism as enabler
Sanwo-Olu described the entertainment and tourism as enablers of growth with huge potential for employment opportunities. The sector, he said, is critical to achieving his administration’s youth development objectives, given its high rate of absorption of creative young people in its supply chains.

He said: “This is a signpost of all pockets of intervention we have created for development of creativity and tourism sector. Aside the N1 billion set aside for hospitality industry, this scheme is specifically targeted at our movie industry which is known all over the world. This is with the belief that we can further raise the status of our creative output and commercialise the returns to a level it can compete with Hollywood and Bollywood.

“We realised most of our film production experts and directors face a lot of funding impediments. We are intervening to close this gap and bring credible veterans who have knowledge and have demonstrated capacity in the industry to drive this project. That is why we carefully selected five key practitioners in the industry to lead. The Committee will be supported by four Government officials to limit bureaucracy for the Committee to achieve its objectives.”

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a discussion members, Film Production Empowerment Committee, Kunle Afolayan; Committee Chairman, Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD); Peace Anyim-Osigwe, Tunde Kelani; Mo Abudu; Special Adviser to the Governor on Arts & culture, Mr. Bonu Solomon Saanu and Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharm. (Mrs) Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, during the inauguration of the committee by the Governor, at Lagos House, Marina, on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

The Governor made it known that the scheme sought to leverage idea and talent development to transform Nollywood into a brand that would compete favourably with advanced film industries, such as America’s Hollywood and India’s Bollywood.

What next?
He said the committee had been given the authority to disburse the support grants to movie producers who have fresh ideas and those whose stories are yet to be completed.

He charged them to work out its engagement modalities and administrative responsibility of selecting the beneficiaries of the scheme.

The Governor stressed that intervention would also galvanised the private sector into committing more funding to the industry for accelerated growth.

Condition for access
Commissioner for Tourism, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said the committee members would set the conditions for accessing this fund, determine eligibility of applicants and decide on the amount that could be given to an individual applicant or group at a particular time.

According to her “This intervention will make Lagos State to continue to retain its position as the hub of film making in Nigeria and as a city for the creative minds.”

Committee members
Mofe-Damijo described the committee’s appointment as “a big honour”, describing members as passionate practitioners in the Entertainment industry.

Other industry veterans in the committee include ace cinematographer, Tunde Kelani, a Film and Television Producer, Ms. Mo Abudu, movie director, Mr. Kunle Afolayan, and Mrs. Peace Anyim-Osigwe.

The Government officials in the committee are Adebukola Agbaminoja, Ferdinand Tinubu, Taju Olajumoke and Mrs Funke Avoseh (Secretary).

 

Confidence Okwuchi

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