CBMNEWS: Stop calling our films rubbish — Nollywood filmmaker
Nollywood producer and director, Victor Okpala, is sick of Nigerians punching down on the quality of Nollywood films and is hopeful they’ll offer more support in the future.
The filmmaker made his passionate plea for grace while speaking during a panel hosted at the Africa NXT conference in Lagos on Thursday, February 9, 2023.
Okpala said the industry is fueled mainly by people who invest their sweat and blood and deserve to get more applause for their efforts.
“It hurts you when your fellow Nigerians who should applaud you a bit and say, ‘Oh, even though there were some things that are not right, this person still tried,’ but they now say, ‘Rubbish. What are they doing? I can’t even watch Nollywood movies,'” he lamented in his opening remarks.
“I’ve never heard an American say, ‘I don’t watch American movies.’ Who’ll then watch it?”
Okpala said Nollywood will not grow if Nigerians don’t fully back filmmakers with their money regardless of what they’re currently offering the audience.
The ‘Disguise’ and ‘Mad About You’ producer also expressed discontent over the lack of government support for Nollywood. He noted that providing the industry with better equipment alone would significantly improve film production.
Okpala further warned that the absence of support from the government and Nigerians will continue to slow down the passionate work filmmakers like him are doing.
“I’ve seen Nollywood producers who sold their land, and cars and mortgaged their houses just to make a film. It’s hard here,” he continued. “So, when you see somebody put out a film, just give the person a thumbs up.”
The considerable global success of Nollywood projects like ‘Shanty Town’, ‘Far From Home’, ‘Blood Sisters’ and ‘Anikulapo’ is Okpala’s evidence that the industry can do better with the necessary financial support.
“We’re getting there bit by bit. We just have to be consistently doing our best, staying away from mediocrity, trying to do things the right way and pulling the right plugs,” he concluded.
Okpala directed ‘Tiger’s Tail’ which was critically panned when it screened in cinemas in 2022. He’s set to release ‘Lion’s Den’ this year with a cast that boasts Pete Edochie, Deyemi Okanlawon, IK Ogbonna, Femi Branch and Ronke Oshodi-Oke.