Dr Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director of the Nigerian Film Corporation(NFC) has congratulated three Masters Degree students of the National Film Institute (NFI), who are on a scholarship to Germany as part of their program in Film Culture and Archival Studies.
Maduekwe also urged them to be good ambassadors of thier fatherland.
He gave the charge at a pre-departure interactive meeting with them in Abuja.
The NFC boss tasks them to maximise all opportunities the program offers in terms of building capacity for the rescue, restoration, digitilisation and preservation of vintage national audio-visual heritages.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three students were selected to benefit from the 2021 Foreign Scholarship Scheme of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdients (DAAD), known as German Academic Exchange Service.
The students include Nnenna Emily Ukoha, Collins Okorocha and Stephen Okoh.
Maduekwe said: “Be reminded that you are the pioneers of the Master’s Degree programme at the NFI.
“Thus, Nigerians are expectant that you would equally pioneer the rescue, restoration, digitalisation and preservation of the numerous vintage national audio-visual heritages that are seemingly rotting away.
“There is need for you to be guided by the rare window of opportunity provided by President Muhammadu Buhari for you to contribute to the protection and preservation of Nigeria’s audio-visual heritages.
“I commend and appreciate Geothe University, Frankfurt; Arsenal Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin; DAAD; University of Jos and the Lagos Film Society, for the partnership in undertaking the Master’s in film and Archival Studies programme in Nigeria.”
Also, another six students will undertake intensive domestic residency programmes across selected institutions and agencies in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Okorocha, in an interview with NAN, said he was travelling to Germany to learn more about the film culture and archiving, and to come back to impact the knowledge on others.
According to him, we are in a digital era and it is only 10 per cent of movies of 1930 to date that can be found.
“Most of those movies have 100 per cent cultural heritage, so, if we can restore those films and audio-visual materials, Nigeria will be better.
“This is a great opportunity, and I am grateful to President Buhari, NFI and NFC. This is a new field in Africa, and I am happy to be part of it,” Okorocha said.
Another student, Okoha said she was happy to get the scholarship to study Film Culture and Archival Studies in Germany.
Okoha explained that as a film maker, she was not grounded in archiving, adding that this was an opportunity for her to gain knowledge in film culture and archiving.
For Okoh, the study would not only help the Nigerian Film Industry, but Africa at large.
“This is because we are having a serious challenge in archiving our programmes, films and history. As an archivist, you need to acquire first, preserve, then create access for people.
“So, this programme will give us a global perspective and standards to archiving. Germany is a strong part of film development and archiving in the world,” Okoh said.
Meanwhile Brian Etuk, Head, Public Affairs of NFI, said there were a lot of audio-visual materials rotting away in all parts of the country.
“We have taken the lead to make sure we rescue those vintage and important history of our country and the only way to do this is to rescue, digitalise and preserve them.
“We have introduced courses that give room for people to be trained and acquire Master’s degree in Film Culture and Archival Studies.
“Our collective drive as a nation has been driven by Nigerian Film Corporation towards rescuing our heritage and archove our audio-visuals
“We must do it, otherwise, several years down the road, we would just be telling stories without evidence to show,” Etuk said.
NAN also reports that while in Germany, the three students will undertake rigorous learning processes associated with recovery of seeming destroyed or threats to audio-visual archival holdings for six months.
They are expected to return to Nigeria with demonstrated and in-depth knowledge of how Nigeria’s numerous audio-visual heritages that are found in several holdings across the country can be preserved.
Also, they are equally expected to serve as resource experts at the NFI, the National Film, Video and Sound Archives in Jos, which was recently designated as Nigeria’s central repository for audio-visuals. (NAN)