Lagos Unveils N1Billion Intervention Fund for Nollywood

Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has an launched intervention
project that will jump-start the transformation of the entertainment and
tourism sector.

The Governor has inaugurated the Committee on Film Production
Empowerment at the State House, Marina to fund youth creativity and
entertainment activities following the disruption caused
by the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that impacted negatively on
entertainment and tourism in the state.

According to a press statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile.
Mr Richard Mofe-Damijo – a veteran filmmaker and
Nollywood actor – is the chairman of the nine-member committee,
comprising five industry practitioners and four government officials.
They are selected to drive the governor’s vision to actively support
youth creativity and entrepreneurship in the sector.

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 the 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.

Entertainment and Tourism form a key pillar of the Government’s
T.H.E.M.E.S. agenda being implemented to drive inclusive growth and
socio-economic development across sectors of the State’s economy.
Sanwo-Olu described 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 the development of creativity and tourism sector. Aside from
the N1 billion set aside for the 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 realized 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 the 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.”

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.

Sanwo-Olu 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 the committee to work
out its engagement modalities and administrative responsibility of
selecting the beneficiaries of the scheme.

He said: “As we roll out this scheme, we want to be able to help the
industry around job creation and bring youths out of unemployment, using
the creative industry. We also want to create entrepreneurs that will
use their creativity to enhance the market shares of the sector.
  “We want to support industry practitioners to raise capacity, support
development of local content and discourage the action of taking
proceeds from the industry out of the country, thereby denying local
practitioners the benefits of their talents. We will not restrict your
(committee’s) ability; we will give you leeway to do your job.”

Sanwo-Olu said the intervention would galvanize the private sector into
committing more funding to the industry for accelerated growth. He
expressed optimism that the scheme would unlock the potential of the
Lagos coastline and turn it into a destination of choice in African
tourism.
  Commissioner for Tourism, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, said the
committee members would set the conditions for accessing this fund,
determine the eligibility of applicants and decide on the amount that
could be given to an individual applicant or group at a particular time.

She said: “This intervention will make Lagos State continue to retain
its position as the hub of film making in Nigeria and as a city for the
creative minds.” Mofe-Damijo described the committee’s appointment as “a
big honour”, describing members as passionate practitioners in the
Entertainment industry.

“We don’t have any excuse not to perform in this assignment. We will do
everything in our capacity to ensure that result which the Governor has
envisioned comes to reality,” he said. 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).

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