Nigerian actors’ leader calls for more international productions

Actors Guild of Nigeria president Emeka Rollas has called on his local counterparts to prioritise international productions in Malawi as that will result in meaningful growth for the industry and country.

Rollas made the call on Tuesday on the sidelines of a meeting he had with local filmmakers in Lilongwe during his three-day visit to Malawi.

Rollas: It is not nice for us to open our borders and let others make money

He argued that by producing international films locally, such arrangement will result in money being spent locally as opposed to what some filmmakers are currently doing – producing movies outside their countries.

“It is not nice for us to open our borders and let others make money. Today, most African actors and musicians are living abroad, making money and supporting economies in those countries. Why not Africa?” he said in an interview.

In a response to the recent Malawian inspired Hollywood movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, an adaptation by Nigeria’s Chiwetel Ejiofor on William Kamkwamba true-life story, Rollas said there is more that African countries need to do as opposed to just shooting authentic stories.

“Most films we watch from America are not original but have made so much money. Right now, big film corporations are looking for places to make films and we are not creating the opening.

“So, what they are doing now is to take our set, build it in their own studios and call it Lagos. This is not helping us as it is just creating a name, but it is not adding value to our industry,” he said.

Commenting on the meeting, the Nigerian actor-cum-filmmaker believes there are a number of opportunities that growing industries like Malawi are underutilising.

“My take is that if we come together as fellow Africans we would do a lot. The Malawi film industry is still trying to bring people together to understand the rudiments of the profession. The country needs to invest in the talent abound in Malawi and create enabling environment for practitioners,” said Rollas.

So far, there is a glimmer of hope in co-productions, according to multi-award-winning filmmaker Charles Shemu Joyah who also attended the meeting in Lilongwe.

 “The meeting was eye opening as we learnt so much that we perhaps take for granted. Again, the meeting has emphasized on co-productions where Malawian and Nigerian filmmakers plus actors can work on one production,” he said.

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