The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) has signed a ‘cooperation’ agreement with the Centre National du Cinema (CNC) and the Moving Image for film production.
The agreement was signed on Monday in Abuja between the Managing Director of the NFC, Chidia Maduekwe, on behalf of the Nigerian government, and the Chief Executive Officer of CNC, Dominique Boutonnat.
The agreement, which is described as a historic bilateral arrangement on film production, is the first of its kind in the audio-visual sector to be signed between Nigeria and any country.
Mr Maduekwe said with the agreement, Nigeria and France are expected to create the conducive environment to enable their filmmakers to deploy their expertise and experiences in film production, distribution and archiving.
Under the agreement, the parties identified challenges of conserving, cataloguing, restoring, digitising and enhancing films and archive documents as a priority matter.
The agreement will allow CNC to contribute its expertise to the NFC to allow it acquire the required skills, particularly of technical nature, to administer its archives in an optimal manner
“The agreement will, among other things, strengthen bilateral relations between Nigeria and France in the transfer of skills and best practices, preservation of films and exhibition from both countries. Discussions and collaborations between French and Nigerian film collections are expected to result in a joint restoration project,” Mr Maduekwe said.
Mr Maduekwe said film heritage and literacy, artistic cooperation, distribution and exhibition, as well as institutional exchanges between the CNC and the NFC were key components of the agreement.
To ensure ‘film literacy’, parties under the agreement agreed that film studies will provide effective means of promoting cultural diversity in a sustained manner, with CNC contributing its expertise in the training of teachers and the planning of educational solutions in conjunction with NFC officials.
With the agreement, film clubs will be recognised by both countries as activities necessary to foster the love of films and film-making, while both parties will share their experiences in the field.
The NFC boss said the agreement fits into the United Nations Educational Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) convention of 2005 on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions to which Nigeria and France are signatories.
The objectives of the agreement, he said, would be actualised through the use of local locations for film projects, expansion of markets and development of skills between the two countries.
Apart from further positioning Nigeria’s creative industry for more investment inflow, Mr Maduekwe said the agreement enhances capacity, training, money, and equipment to strengthen the NFC within the legal framework available.
“The French Government will give a maximum of €135,000 as a grant to the Nigerian producer to help shoot film.
“When a film is eventually produced, CNC will ensure those quality films produced by Nigerians will be exhibited in cinemas in France, and that will bring more money for our filmmakers.
“The NFC boss said that as part of the implementation process, a Technical Committee will be set up, comprising seasoned industry stakeholders from Nigeria, France, Hollywood and other developed film industries.
On artistic cooperation, the agreement is expected to make it possible for the NFC to develop strong activities in international cooperation and the financing of co-productions to enable the Nigerian industry operators to participate more in the development of film production.
In terms of institutional exchanges, the agreement is expected to provide the NFC with technical assistance concerning the development of Nigeria’s audio-visual policy with specific concentration directed at fighting intellectual property theft, student exchanges and promotion of children films development.
On distribution and exhibition, the agreement will allow the two countries reciprocate participation in national cinematographic works to festivals and other film events in the country.
The agreement took effect from January 14.
It will last for two years subject to renewal for periods of one year at a time, ”unless cancelled by any of the parties three months before the expiry date.”