13th Abuja International Film Festival: US, Nigeria Partner on Development of Movie Industry

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The United States of America has said she is ready to support Nigeria towards the development of the movie industry.

As part of efforts to also boost the 13th edition of the Abuja International Film Festival, the U.S. Embassy, through the American Film Showcase offered Nigerians and the movie industry 47 outstanding documentary films on contemporary life issues.

The Showcase which is been organized by the Education and Cultural Affairs Bureau in the US Department of State is aimed at facilitating and promoting people to people engagement between Nigeria and the U.S through the medium of film.

Acting Country Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, Mr. Russell Brooks, who disclosed this at the just concluded Abuja International Film Festival, said the American Film Showcase intended to inspire individuals and communities tell their own stories and also explore important societal issues that are important to them.

“One by-product of bringing the showcase to filmmakers throughout the world is it creates opportunities for American filmmakers and technical experts to share their experience and expertise with international counterparts such as the prolific filmmaking community located in Nigeria popularly known as Nollywood and Kannywood”, he said.

Brooks disclosed that some of the films in the Showcase are expected to highlight critical societal issues such as youth empowerment, protecting the environment, diversity and encouraging tolerance, countering violent extremism amongst others.

He therefore, encouraged players in the industry to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the motivation of the visiting artists and exchange views with them on the creative process, adding that, “ a number of the American filmmakers will be virtually interacting with local audience as part of the Abuja Film Festival.”

Brooks revealed that the event was the second tour of American Film showcase to Nigeria since it began 5 years ago.

He said the first took place in 2010 and over the past five years , the showcase has toured 73 countries.

He added that the showcase will also be screened in Lagos later this month and in other selected Nigerian cities in the first quarters of 2017.

The Founder, Abuja International Film Festival, Fidelis Duker, while remarking that it is time for all to show concerted efforts in the development of the industry, called on the federal government to take ownership of the project noting that the industry apart from generating revenue for the nation has capacity to absolve the myriads of unemployed youths in the country.

“It has gotten to a point where the sector would be given its due attention, government is concerned about taking youths from the streets, the sector has the capacity to absolve restive youths and militants who blow up pipelines”, he said.