Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed has praised organisers’ of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), for using cinema to revolutionise Africa’s social and economic life.
The star-studded sixth edition of the event, took place at the Filmhouse, IMAX Cinema, Lekki, Lagos on Sunday, with the unveiling of a new movie, “Birth of a Nation“.
In his address of welcome, Mr Mohammed assured stakeholders of the Federal Government’s commitment to the growth of the industry.
“I congratulate the organisers of the Africa International Film Festival on what promises to be another successful event.
“I want you all to help me celebrate their commitment to the industry and laudable investment in Nigeria, year after year.
“This is the sixth one, and I am here to assure all the practitioners in the industry and the ever-growing customer base of this industry that the best days are here.
“Before now, maybe the Nigerian Government threw crumbs at the Nigerian movie industry in terms of infrastructure and human capital investment.
“However with the steady growth in the population, we have no choice than to turn to the creative industry,” the Minister stated.
Furthermore, he stressed that the current administration would ensure that Nigeria would no longer depend only on oil revenues as according to him, much attention would now be shifted towards the creative industry.
He believes that the creative industry had provided a veritable platform for talented youths and entrepreneurs to thrive.
“The movie industry has fully accepted to be not just a great employer of labour, especially young people, but also a potential high foreign exchange earner because of its international appeal and demand.
“We are taking the bull by the horn. You have all done a fantastic job with all the support of government and partnership.
He re-iterated a statement he made during an interview with Channels Television, that “Mr President has formally put his weight behind the creative industry and has promised to do everything that will make it possible for us to transit from a creative industry to a creative economy.”
The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Film One Distribution, an independent film distributor, Kene Mkparu, also expressed delight at the large turnout of guests for the event.
Expressing gratitude for the partnership with Twentieth Century Fox, who according to him has, shown interest in the growing African Film market, Mr Mkparu said:
“We met them just two years ago, and they got this amazing plan and desire to work with Africa and play a part in what happens in the continental film industry.
“When we reached out to 20th Century Fox to say we wanted this particular title which happens to be an African story, a huge African story, written and directed by Nate Parker, they said yes, we will do it.”