Tuesday, 30th April 2019 will go down in the history book for Nigeria and France. This is because the two countries reached a movie distribution agreement that will allow them to distribute and showcase their movies through the “French-Nigerian Film Distribution Conference”. The deal was reached following the visit of Jerome Pasquier, the French Ambassador to Nigeria and Arnand Durnon, Institute Francaise du Nigéria’s Director to the headquarters of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) in Abuja.
Signing the agreement for Nigeria was the Executive Director of NFVCB, Mr. Adebayo Thomas. On the other hand, Durnon signed for France. Reacting to the movie distribution agreement, Mr. Thomas said it will be mutually beneficial to both countries. Consequently, the agreement births ‘French-Nigeria Cinema Days’ which will happen during the conference. Comparing the two movie industries, Mr. Thomas said,
“France prides itself as a country of moviegoers with over 5,000 screens, while in Nigeria, we are proud to say that we have achieved 200 screens, from 39 in the last two years. Its film industry is acclaimed to be living ‘La vie en rose’ (life in roses), that its Nigerian counterpart would love to attain.”
Impact of the movie distribution agreement on both countries
The movie distribution agreement presents a meeting platform for producers, distributors, investors, and stakeholders. It will promote the distribution of Nollywood films in France and vice versa. Consequently, this will grow Nollywood’s French audience. This movie distribution agreement will also help the Nigerian movie industry to fight piracy. According to Mr. Thomas,
“Our Nigerian distributors would be more than happy to collaborate with big-time French distributors such as Pathe, Studiocan, and Bacfilms as planned in the coming collaboration conference. The French distributors take delight in releasing movies from many different nationalities, whether big or small. As it is their belief that the French moviegoers love movies from around the world.”
However, irrespective of the challenges facing the Nigerian Film industry, Mr. Thomas is optimistic that the industry will become a major contributor to the GDP, thanks to the movie distribution agreement. He also highlighted how the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) policy has helped to develop the film industry.
An opportunity for social and economic growth
The movie distribution agreement presents both countries an opportunity for economic and social growth. While France leverage on the vast Nigerian population, Nigeria will also be needing technical support from France to tackle the issue of Piracy. Describing the enormous opportunities in the movie distribution agreement, Pasquier said,
“The film industries in France and Nigeria are contributing a lot to their economies, and this agreement will further present opportunities for both countries. This will bring better relationships, not just between the two countries government, but between their citizens as well. Private investors of both countries will sure benefit from this collaboration, in terms of investment in distributions and marketing of films.”