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Nollywood: Abuja Set To Produce Future Stars

The school is part of the plans to train emerging actors in the territory as the FCT strategies to take bigger share of the Nollywood industry which hitherto had been under the control of South East and South West

Tony Ailemen Abuja

It was a gathering of “ Who is Who “ in the Nigerian entertainment and creative industry weekend, as major Nollywood players including members of the Actors Guild, the Nigerian Society of Cinematographers, the Nigerian Society of Editors, the creative Designers Guild of Nigeria, and others, converged at the grand opening of Pace Film Academy, Abuja.

According to the organisers of the training programmes and Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Pace Film Academy, Sunny Ken Awoji, the Abuja film school, fashioned after the Del-Yorke International film school in Lagos, the New York Film Academy in the USA, the International Film and Broadcast Academy in Lagos; and other major film academies to increase capacity building in the film industry in Abuja.

Abuja, Nigeria’s bustling capital is an emerging city of great prospects in tourism, entertainments and Hospitality as government spends Billions of Naira creating infrastructures for a world class city.

The city, apart from its vast growing population, has also continued to expand its opportunities for business,

As part of the Federal Government efforts to support the industry, no fewer than 32 movie firms, which successfully passed through rigorous assessment procedures were given grants from the Film Production Fund, one of the three components of the N3 billion Presidential Intervention Fund for the Nigerian movie industry, also known as Project ACT Nollywood.

Now, Abuja, the nation’s capital is set to stamp its presence with the opening of the school located at the foot of the Katampe Hills, inside the Firstrut Estate, Katampe.

The school is part of the plans to train emerging actors in the territory as the FCT strategies to take bigger share of the Nollywood industry which hitherto had been under the control of South East and South West.

The school is dedicated to training and skills acquisition for Nigerian movie practitioners in all competencies along the entire value chain of Nigeria’s movie industry, including scriptwriting, directing, production and production design, special effects, lighting, sound, HD techniques, including animation, acting, cinematography, make-up, editing, directing, writing, amongst others.

Mr. Awoji disclosed that the training programme which is the fifth in the series, will be done in partnership with Firstrut Communications, District 7 films, Ajj Movies, Gold Pictures, Indy place make -up institute and the Nexus 3 studios

The film academy is a subsidiary of the Pace production, an indigenous, highly experienced film production company with vast experience in all aspects of film production

The outfit was incorporated in 2005 and has since produced several films including, The Impostor, The Patient and Nicki’s Runs.

The outfit, according to Awoji, is also currently working on Inikpi ( The Legendary), The Surgery, Salvage and Ameh Oboni ( The Great).

According to him” the aim of the academy, is to further advance the cause of upgrading the image of our Actors, crew and every aspect of the industry in positive light in line with the spirited efforts being made by the President Jonathan’s administration to reposition the industry for job creation”

“It is also aimed at complimenting government’s efforts at ensuring accelerated growth and development of the entertainment industry”

One of the top Actors, Sydney Diala, while speaking at the event, assured the students that the school is one of the biggest thing that has happened to the Nollywood industry in Abuja

“We have not brought you here to waste your talents, because no efforts put into training that is a waste. Your coming to Pace, is like coming to embrace the totality in film industry. So coming here with the likes of these arrays of veteran, you will just climb from the top.”

He prayed for the promoters that God will provide them with the wisdom to sustain the current project, even as he called on the students to embrace the concept of humility without which they cannot go too far in the Nollywood.

“ That you are a fantastic actor or actress should not be reason why you should puffed up. The better you are in the industry, the more humble you are expected to be.”

Tony Goodman, another veteran in the industry, noted that training remains one that is vital and strategic in the process of movie making as players strive to always learn new techniques to meet the ever growing demands for creativity.

“A combination of passion and training take you to where you want to be” he noted, adding that “ many actors who are operating in the industry are not trained which has created a great challenge and thus the need for this training school in Abuja”

“A woman with nine children is not a stranger to pregnancy, therefore, you are in good hands as Firstrut is not a stranger to the movie industry” he said

He urged the students to make the best use of the opportunities that is being provided by the arrays of resources persons that will be available to help them.

He also sees the current efforts as a great success in building reservoir of future stars

Representative of the Directors Guild of Nigeria, DGN Abuja Chapter, Mr. B T Thomas, who is also a film maker, in his speech also commended the vision behind the project, adding that such venture will further help in creating more talents.

“You have the passion and the profession. So, I always advise that you find something to attach to what you do” I know that with the kind of partners they have, the sky is their limit.”

The Secretary of the Actors Guild of Nigeria Abuja Chapter, also testified that current efforts will boost the film industry in the FCT, adding that despite previous efforts to train actors and actresses in Abuja, none has produced the required results, but commended the Firstrut for coming out with this concept.

“This forum is a very fantastic one”

He also urged the students to take a good advantage of the opportunity to correct and reposition themselves in the industry.

“If you are part of this and you have registered with them, you should be proud of yourself. It now depends on you to take advantage of this opportunity to rebrand yourself”

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