The Federal Government has pledged to revive the moribund National Endowment Funds for the Arts in order to have a sustain system for funding of creative industry.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Saturday in Port Harcourt at the African Movie Academy (AMA) Awards night.
Mohammed said that the step was parts of government efforts to strengthen the creative industry and assist practitioners in the sector.
He said government would also develop regulatory bodies that would address challenges and promote service delivery in the sector.
The minister reiterated government commitment to encouraging and ensuring a vibrant motion picture industry that would positively respond to social, political and economic realities.
“Already we have taken some positive steps in this direction, one of which is our desire to assist practitioners in instituting the structure like the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria (MOPPICON).
“The council will device and supervise regulations to protect and enhance professional excellence and existence of viable indigenous filmmakers.
“We have also resolved to curb the menace of piracy and to help institute an equitable distribution mechanism.’’
Mohammed appealed to filmmakers across Africa to tell more stories that would project positive image of respective nation and the continent to the outside world.
He stressed that such stories should correct some of the prejudices, perceptions and the negative narratives about Africa.
The minister noted that as a powerful medium of communication, practitioners must leverage on the power of film to change the negative narratives and promote African culture and values in all its richness and diversity.
He expressed delight that AMA Awards had become recognised in Africa and the globe as reflected in the growing number of visiting filmmakers and film entries submitted for the award from all over the world.
He commended the organisers for showcasing and recognising African talents in the film industries for over a decade, and assured government’s willingness to partner with AMAA in the efforts to boost the industry.
“AMAA is our baby and we must do everything to make it succeed,’’ he said.
Mohammed also promised to host the Nigerian winners of the AMAA 2016 at a later date.
The host governor, Nyesom Wike, said he was delighted that the event was held in Port Harcourt, “the leading commercial enclave in Nigeria’’.
Wike said that Rivers was safe for tourists and investors contrary to reports in some quarters, and urged movie practitioners to tell the stories of investment and business opportunities in the state.
In a presentation by a 12-member jury of the awards, 485 movie entries were received from 60 countries for the 2016 edition among which 65 were considered in 26 categories.
The panel observed that there were more women participation in front and behind the camera in the 2016 edition, but decried the decline in children movies and actors.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that awards were presented to the winners in the 26 categories.
Dignitaries at the event included former Senate President David Mark, Majority leader in the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, and former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke.
NAN reports that AMA Awards was founded by Peace Anyiam-Osigwe in 2005 and run through the Africa Film Academy.
The awards are aimed at honouring and promoting excellence in the African filmmaking as well as uniting the continent through arts and culture. (NAN)