After over 15 years of diplomatic engagements, Nigeria and France have finally signed their first Cooperation Agreement on film, cinema and ancillary matters.
The Agreement was signed recently in Paris, France between the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and its French equivalent, the Centre National Du Cinema ET De L’image Animee (CNC).
Its President, Dominique Boutonnat signed for France while Managing Director of the NFC, Dr Chidia Maduekwe, signed on behalf of Nigeria.
In his comments at the signing ceremony, Maduekwe assured that Nigeria would begin immediate commencement and implementation of the terms of the Agreement.
“This, no doubt, will enable the harnessing of the great potentials of filmmakers and other stakeholders as well as practitioners of both countries to further up the ante of cinematic activities, through joint and cooperative windows and platforms,” he said.
Nigeria, Maduekwe added, has a vast middle and lower level cinema viewing population. There was the need to cater for and mainstream them into the film distribution and exhibition value chain.
He said that the NFC would continue to actively seek international opportunities that will benefit film production in the country while adopting the CNC model of operations and funding.
The CNC funds its activities from box office returns, other forms of taxes, technical and other services.
Maduekwe disclosed that the NFC and Google are partnering to develop a mobile app that would further increase the volume of viewership and create more jobs.
Speaking earlier, CNC President, Boutonnat, thanked the NFC for expeditiously facilitating the signing of the Cooperation Agreement. He assured of the CNC’s willingness to ensure that both countries benefitted from each other’s distinctive ingenious expertise.
Apart from the promotion of reciprocal participation and exhibition of cinematographic works of filmmakers from both countries at national and other film festivals, the Agreement also provides inroad for theatrical and distribution markets.
Other areas are institutional exchanges, policy engagements on intellectual property, educational training, solutions and capacity building for upcoming filmmakers; transfer of skills and best practices in film production, preservation of film heritage, circulation and exhibition of films/movies from both countries, and in both countries.
The Cooperation Agreement formed part of discussions between President Muhammadu Buhari and President Emmanuel Macron of France during the latter’s visit to Nigeria in 2018.