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When AFRIFF Brought Together Nollywood Stars and Film Sponsors

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By Dekunbi Kuye

The African Film Festival (AFRIFF) was a week to remember as movie industry movers and shakers trouped in to witness the event from far and near.  Though it was a five-day event starting from the 8th to the 15th November 2015, with various workshops organised and movies premiered.

One of the well-attended sessions at the festival was the Bank of Industry (BOI)’s interactive session on the NollyFund scheme, an initial program limit of N1.0 billion and a single obligatory limit of N50 million for individual loans.

The forum, which held at the Silverbird Galleria, Victoria. Island, Lagos on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, provided a platform between filmmakers and staff of the bank to interact better on the much-publicized BoI NollyFund. This scheme enables Nigeria’s leading movie producers receive financial support to produce international quality films and screen them through various platforms of movie distribution available both in Nigeria and internationally.

According to the  Bank of Industry’s Divisional Head, Large Enterprises, Mr. Babatunde Joseph, the NollyFund was created to give an opportunity to Nollywood stars and filmmakers to make films, tell their stories  and also make profits, while helping them with various distribution platforms in Nigeria and Africa at large.

Kunle Afolayan, a recent  beneficiary of the BOI NollyFund, was on the panel alongside veteran actress Joke Silva and film critic, Shaibu Husseini. They were joined Babatunde and Mrs. Uche Nwuka, Group  Head, Creative Desk at BoI to shed light on the workability of the Nollywood fund, which several filmmakers see as a welcome development.

Filmmakers from other African countries who noted that such scheme does not exist in their countries wanted to know if they are eligible to access the fund. Although Babatunde said it is a scheme meant to develop just the Nigerian creative sector, the visiting filmmakers praised the initiative, saying that Nigerian filmmakers are lucky to have such a developmental agency interested in film business.

Speaking at the event, Afolayan said Nollywood celebrities needed to be business-oriented to understand the art of filmmaking and stressed that they needed to make a checklist of documents required in support of the loan applications. The Bank of Industry had in the past financed creative-industry projects, which included Half of A Yellow Sun, Flower Girl, Digitization of Silverbird Cinemas, The Filmhouse, Viva Cinemas, Ozone Cinemas and G-media.

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