Soon, there’ll be no market for substandard production in Nollywood, says Akin-Tijani...

Soon, there’ll be no market for substandard production in Nollywood, says Akin-Tijani Balogun

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Akin-Tijani Balogun, aka ATB, a director and producer, believes the future looks so bright for Nollywood than ever before.
While speaking with The Point, he said about seven or eight movies had been released this year alone and they all gained international recognition. These, according to him include: ‘Arbitration,’ ‘93 Days,’ ‘The CEO’ and ‘A Trip to Jamaica.”
The one-time Content Director of MTN’s Project Fame West Africa stated, “I can boldly say that Nollywood has gained international recognition, and we are definitely going to do more. The bar has been raised and trust me, every director and producer has a target to at least hit the mark or even surpass it.”
Noting that although there are still some movies and TV productions that are below standard, he insisted that credit needed to be given to the standard ones.
“When I hear people criticise Nollywood with a comparison to our foreign counterparts, the first question I ask is ‘how many Nigerian movies have you gone to see in the cinemas?’ Nollywood is not as bad as you think. Go to the cinemas and find out whether this is true or false,” he said.
The first hurdle to conquer for Nollywood to achieve its full potential, he thinks, is distribution, which encompasses the scourge of piracy. To him, if producers are sure of making their money back with profit, more money would be invested into productions. And subsequently, it would bring about a higher standard in what the public get to see.
“In previous times, government had given out money to some bodies, but this is not a topic I want to delve into. Government participation, for me, should be in terms of provision or availability of infrastructures. There are some basic social infrastructures that film makers find very difficult to make use of. Sometimes, you have to pay through your nose to get access, and even when you get permission, you are under pressure to rush through the shooting and vacate the premises.”
The Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Ibadan urged every director to endeavour to keep improving, insisting that Nollywood has moved ahead from what used to be the status quo, and the audience are becoming ‘wiser’.
“So, it behoves of every director to be objective and know if they belong or not to the mediocre strata. Very soon, the naive ‘market’ that take in the substandard production would dry up, as everyone in the society is becoming more aware of what a good production should be. And by then, the wheat would be separated from the chaff. It does not hurt to spare some time and money to improve one’s skills,” he added.
In the next five years, ATB sees himself being in charge of his own outfit, churning out standard movies and TV productions for public consumption.

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