Behind the scene | 22 February 2007 16:29 CET


THE National Film and Video Censors Board will this morning at the Golden Gate Restaurant, Ikoyi, Lagos, launch its much awaited new framework on film distribution, that is expected to change the fortune of the film industry otherwise called Nollywood. Time is at 11a.m.

As a prelude to this, the board recently in Abuja signed a memorandum of understanding on its new framework for distribution of movies in Nigeria with AO&A, a tax and marketing consulting firm.

Speaking to the press after the signing ceremony witnessed by officials of both organisations, the Director General of the Board, Mr. Emeka Mba said AO&A emerged successful after a painstaking examination of all the proposals sent in by different firms. The board, he recalled, had early last year, through a paid publication in some national newspapers called for Expression of Interests from individuals and organisations on how best to distribute films in the country.

According to Mba, the board is statutorily empowered by its enabling law; Act 85 of 1993, to regulate all the motion pictures distribution, hence the need to formally announce the adoption of a new distribution framework. The framework, he noted, would act as the pivot of enforceable standards in the business of movie marketing and distribution throughout the country.

The Director General underscored the urgent need to formalise the industry which he observed, "had hitherto not been subjected to any regulated distribution, exhibition and marketing system."

He maintained that the success and strength of any film/movie industry is wholly dependent on its distribution system, which not only supplies the bulk of its capital needs but also engages in activities that set the tone for its standards as reflected in its contents and overall output.

Mba posited that the distribution of films in Nigeria has been unstructured without auditable standards and has no necessary alignment to the mainstream economy despite the fact that the country is reputed as the 3rd largest film making market in the world.

An overview and operation of the models shows that the framework seeks to implant enforceable standards in the distribution of film\movie throughout the country.

The board assures that the system will usher in a new era where Film/Movie -makers could hope to get, as obtains in other climes where distribution is structured and regulated, commensurate financial compensation for their outputs. The framework Mba restated, apart from neutralising piracy, will attract big-time distributors with the financial muscle to the industry, and serve as the incentive for producers to focus on fewer quality films/movie that we could all be proud of.

A peep into the new framework document shows that, distributors will be registered and granted licences by the board as provided for under its enabling laws to operate according to their desires and confirmed capacities either at the national, regional, states, local government areas and community levels. The community levels will serve as the final retail point in the new distribution chain.

The package also carries along with it, specific distribution rights such as rental only, rental and sale, and comprehensive, and a defined distribution time frame of within six months minimum to a five-year maximum. Mba also said that Licensed Distributors are required to show a firm financial commitment before being assigned a distinct security code to administer their works and monitor their operations to guide against piracy and other illegal activities.

This is in addition to submitting a weekly report on their activities to the board, states and local governments they operate in and the internal revenue board.

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