Pan African filmmakers, Kunle Afolayan and Fabian Lojede have explained the challenges of funding for filmmakers in Nollywood.
The actors opened up on funding while speaking to Pulse in an exclusive chat on their experiences in the movie industry.
Lojede, the main character of Kunle Afolayan’s blockbuster, ‘October 1’ says the Nigerian movie industry is the only one out of the three major film industries in the world that have failed its practitioners in terms of funding.
“Yeah, that’s funding is always an issue. But I think Nigeria is a very unique case. Nigeria, is perhaps out of the three major film industries in the world, or the three only film industries in the world, if you really think about it, which is the US, India, and Nigeria. Nigeria is perhaps the only one that actually doesn’t have structured avenues for soft funding for films,” he says.
Backing Lojede’s claims, Afolayan stressed that financing film projects in Nollywood remain a major issue saying “Financing movie project is still a major, major issue in Nigeria.”
In a chat with AY Makun, the top Nollywood producer explains that access to funds remains the biggest challenge facing Nollywood practitioners.
In the words of the ’30 Days in Atlanta’ star, “The major challenge is access to funds. We still don’t have access to funds but people who are doing what they are doing in Nollywood now are individuals who strongly believe in moving Nollywood forward and at the same time trying to get involved in the business to make money for themselves.”
Comparing the opportunities available to filmmakers and practitioners in Hollywood, Afolayan says the industry encourages its practitioners not to take bank loans to finance any film project.
“In the US, they would never advise you to take a bank loan to make a film. As a matter of fact, most times when studio or producers talk to executive producers, or potential sponsors, they will clearly say to them that you may not make your money back with this project, but in Nigeria can you tell somebody that you may not make your money back, and they will still give you money to make film? No, it’s impossible,” the filmmaker says.
Lojede, who recently embarked on a festival tour of his new film, ‘Comatose,’ says the achievement on the film is as a result of the soft funding from a South African state.
He says further that the funds being provided by the Bank Of Industry in Nigeria can’t be referred to as soft funds because of the interest rate.
“I do know that I think we do have BOI (Bank of Industry) but I wouldn’t necessarily call BOI soft grants because there is an interest rate and soft funds for the film is really money you’re not meant to pay back. Not one you’re supposed to pay back with an interest that really is a loan and not necessarily soft funding,” he said.
The ‘Jacobs Cross’ star said further that the Nigerian government needs to back Nollywood. He said the government really need to understand that the international image of the country, the social and economic importance of the film industry is way too overwhelming for the private sector to make the industry thrive on its own.