Restructuring Nollywood with MOPICON review committee
It was an elder artiste and filmmaker who remarked after he heard Information and Culture Minister Alhaji Lai Mohammed speak at the inauguration of the review committee of the Motion Picture Practitioners council (MOPICON) that it will be so unfair not to acknowledge the fact that the Minister means well for Nollywood.
Before a quality crowd of mostly notable practitioners of Nollywood including Stephanie Idahosa, Fred Amata, Paul Obazele, Mahmood Ali-Balogun and the coordinator of the MOPICON review committee Peace Anyiam- Osigwe, the Minister expressed government’s resolve to assist in setting Nollywood on the right path assuring for the umpteenth time that government would do everything possible to ensure that the current revolution in Nollywood is reinforced and sustained.
The Minister, who was at the National Theatre to inaugurate the 29 members review committee he had constituted to have another look at the MOPICON document with a view to fast-tracking its passage into law, pointedly remarked that the inauguration of the committee signifies a fulfilment of the promise he made at the 3rd edition of the Kannywood Awards in Abuja on March 12th 2016 to set up a Ministerial Committee to review the MOPICON document.
As if reacting to the barrage of arguments that greeted his decision to set up the review committee, Alhaji Mohammed said ‘’I have heard all the arguments for and against MOPICON. Some have argued that government has no business in helping Nollywood to set up a self-regulatory structure. I want to state here that in line with our overall responsibility for the nation’s information, culture and tourism policies, our role in helping to set up MOPICON is simply to enable Nollywood to play meaningful role in national development. One of the ways we think we can tackle frontally the many challenges militating against professional and career fulfillment in the movie industry is to have a central body we can always refer to in decisions aimed at improving and modernizing the motion picture industry. Also, government’s interest in the setting up of MOPICON is driven by the fact that we at the supervising ministry need to work with a formidable representative group that is empanelled to lobby for the growth, development and welfare of the industry and its practitioners as well as make for a better organized and more visible and vibrant Nollywood industry’’.
Also, the Minister explained that the latest effort to fast track the passage of the document into law followed previous commendable efforts to set up MOPICON, which started in the early 1990s, when practitioners under various bodies craved for the Council to engender sustainable growth of the industry based on best practices as well as practitioner’s protection and structured membership. The Minister stressed that his interest in seeing to the establishment of MOPICON was to solve the problem of disunity in the motion picture industry and also to have a central body the Ministry can relate with on matters of the industry.
Thereafter, the Minister inaugurated the committee and gave them three weeks to conclude its work and submit its report to government. The members of the committee include representatives of the National Society of Cinematographers, Editors Guild, Creative Designers Guild, NANTAP, DGN, ANTP, AMP, ITPAN, MOPPAN and ANCOP. Also, the Minister named the representative of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) as Secretary of the committee and he directed the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) to provide Secretariat Services for the Committee. The former Secretary Mr. Tony Anih is to serve as Deputy Secretary while Mr. Mahmood Ali-Balogun will serve as Deputy Coordinator of the committee.
Coordinator of the review committee Peace Anyiam-Osigwe expressed optimism that like APCON, MOPICON will emerge the most important intervention tool that the Nollywood requires to address some of its structural deficiencies.