Following the reception given eight Nigerian films by foreign delegates at the last Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Canada, an idea of a Nollywood Travel Festival was born, with a broader aim of promoting Nigerian films, music and tourism as a pack.
The idea is the brainchild of President of the African Film Consortium (AFC), Mykel Parish and CEO of Native Media, Rogers Ofime.
Shedding more light on the initiative at a press conference which held at the Ojez Restaurant, National Theatre, last Tuesday, co-founder of the festival, Parish, noted that the time is now to make more fans and money by taking the country’s film and tourism around the world.
According to him, “Nollywood Travel Festivals is an initiative that seeks to promote films by Nigerians living all over the world to new and existing global audiences with the aim of creating new market places for Nigerian cinema. We will Showcase the best films ever made in Nigeria and create an adventure for filmmakers, while opening platforms and markets for filmmakers, Nigerian music, comedy and tourism.”
Parish who added that the Nigerian movie sector was one that practitioners should be proud of and showcase everywhere in the world, said; “Nollywood is the bedrock of films in Africa. But more people need to know what we are doing. Many of our films are already exposed by pirates. In Canada, some people said they watched Nollywood more than they did Hollywood. So, this festival will strengthen this position and help producers to sell more films across the globe.”
He disclosed that the maiden edition of the Nollywood Travel Festival will hold in Toronto, Canada, from May 5-7, 2017.
In the words of Parish’s partner, Ofime, the Festival’s vision is to become a platform for the advancement of Nollywood and the realization of commercially viable entertainment industry for Nigeria. “The Nollywood Travel Festival celebrates the best of Nigerian cinema and will be hosted in major cities around the world. It will be a weekend of special indoor and outdoor screenings, inspiring discussions, meeting, parties and awards,” he said.
The unveiling ceremony of the festival was attended by notable industry stakeholders like filmmaker Andy Boyo, PMAN’s Pretty Okafor, Association of Movie Producer’s Chinasa Onychere and culture journalist and film critic, Shaibu Husseini.
According to Husseini, there were few travel festivals in the world, thus, the Nollywood Travel Festival is a welcome development.
He expressed optimism that the initiative will properly internationalise Nollywood. “It will change the perspectives that Nollywood is about quantity and not quality as it will expose very good works from Nigeria, unlike the cheap ones that many would have seen. When we take our best films out, the perspective will definitely change. Of course, the festival will also give our filmmakers more opportunity to travel,” he said.
Meanwhile, organisers have announced that entries are opened to filmmakers who desire to showcase their works at the festival. The films, which must have been released in 2016, must be shot in Nigeria or Canada by a Nigerian director with plot relating to Nigeria or Nigeria in Canada.
The said deadline to receive film via online or DVD (along with posters design, synopsis, director’s bio and photo) is Jan 16, 2017, while selected films will be announced on January 20, 2017.