Nigeria and South Africa ink audio-visual cooperation agreement

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Nigeria and South Africa unveiled the Co-Production Procedure and Practice Handbook during the Durban Filmmart (DFM) held recently in Durban, South Africa. The event took place alongside the annual Durban International Film Festival (DIFF).

This initiative, the Nigeria-South Africa Audio-Visual Cooperation Agreement, has its roots in the Cooperative Agreement signed between the former Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, and Cyril Ramaphosa during the 10th Session of the Bi-National Commission in Abuja, Nigeria, from November 26-28, 2021.

Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC), expressed the significance of the unveiled handbook, stating its purpose is to provide the foundational guidelines for co-production endeavours between Nigeria and South African film stakeholders. “The Handbook’s creation underscores Nigeria’s steadfast dedication to the full activation of the Nigeria – South Africa Audio-visual Cooperation,” Maduekwe elucidated.

He further highlighted the myriad of dialogues and collaborations between various government entities, audio-visual professionals, and the key implementing agencies – the Nigerian Film Corporation (Nigeria) and the National Film and Video Foundation (South Africa). These persistent efforts are what have now made the vision of enhancing cross-border film production endeavours a tangible reality.

The term “Nollywood”, Nigeria’s film industry, was coined in the 1990s, and as an industry has come to be the second largest cine sector worldwide, excelling even in the U.S., which stands as the third highest-grossing film industry. Nigerian Cinema accounts for five percent of the nation’s GDP. Currently, Nigeria produces over 30 full-length movies per week, employing over 3 million people in the industry.

The South African side, represented by its government bodies and prominent film and television studios like Stained Glass Studios and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), showcased their keen interest in the Audio-Visual Cooperation Agreement. They have shown enthusiasm to significantly invest in uplifting Nigeria’s film industry. This includes plans to establish cottage viewing cinemas throughout Nigeria’s 774 local council regions, in partnership with the NFC.

ECDC’s Senior Manager for Export Promotions, Mr. Phakamisa George, assured commitment to developing community viewing entrepreneurial hub centres in Nigeria, with a projected 300-500 establishments annually, provided availability of suitable locations nationwide. This aligns seamlessly with the exhibition and distribution roles of the NFC, as per the ICRC regulations. George also mentioned their interest in providing co-production funding and grants.

Stained Glass Studios, renowned for producing “UZALO”, the longest-standing TV series in South Africa, has expressed eagerness to collaborate with Nigerian filmmakers. They are also interested in hosting Film Production Master Classes at the upcoming Zuma Film Festival 2023, slated for December 1-10 in Abuja.

In conclusion, this collaboration signifies an era of unprecedented film production synergy between Nigeria and South Africa, promising growth and opportunities for the film industries of both nations.

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