The Video Film Medium: A Panacea for National Development
Stephen Ogheneruro OKPADAH
Department of the Performing Arts
University of Ilorin, Ilorin
Kwara State, Nigeria
Taiwo Okunola AFOLABI
Department of the Performing Arts
University of Ilorin, Ilorin
Kwara State, Nigeria
The functionalities of videos-films and the cinematic medium include information, edutainment, psycho-spiritual therapy, cultural documentation and socio-economic growth among others. Also, this video film medium has accelerated the pace of the development of the first world countries. Why has this medium not garnered enough attention in the third world countries? This study therefore examines the role of video-film in the development of the first world countries. It examines how it could be used as a tool to energize the development of the developing nations. With historical survey and analytical methods employed, the study reveals among others that the video-filmic medium has not been given an adequate attention by the government of most developing countries especially in Africa and that due to the deficiency in the quality of these video-films, and that the audience find it difficult to patronize these films. In conclusion, the study therefore recommends that the government of the third world countries should make the video film medium a priority in governance as it would accelerate the socio-economic and political growth of these countries.
Development is characterized in various perspectives. The facets of developments are typified in political growth, economic upsurge, social progression, cultural augmentation as well as spiritual stability. Regardless of these factors, there are various factors that facilitate national development. These determinants include a corruption free government; leadership with vision and foresight; patriotic and cooperating subjects among others. Also, the absence of war, crisis and conflict can facilitate development as well and the role of art and culture can’t be overemphasized. Philosophers such as Aristotle, Immanuel Kant and Leo Tolstoy have extensive espoused on the case of art and its place in the society. They believe art must have an impact/effect on the subject. If art is indeed functional, perhaps it could as well engineer national development. However, there are some questions that bother on the role of art in national development and such questions include: Is art functional? What is the role of the artist in national development and nation building?
The film medium is an art. Lenin, a former Russian leader and an exponent of socialism, saw the film medium as the most important of all the arts. Therefore, it should be used to preach the gospel of socialism. It is on this predicate that we consider film an art and a functional one at that. In other words, this study will navigate the possibility of the film medium as a panacea for national development.
The Film Medium: A Historical Preamble
Indeed, film is a capital intensive project. We are hoping that he same red carpet treatment given to say sports, by all philanthropists should be extended to film. Film is a real business: put millions, the billions start rolling in (Shehu 84).
The above assertion cannot be overemphasized as the film medium had always been likened to a money making venture. This peculiar venture and vision developed from the raw invention of the two brothers who invented the first exhibition of a motion picture. In the wake of the invention of this medium of mass communication its inventors had a money making venture in mind. Thus, in 1896, three days after Christmas, two brothers made the city of Paris, France, stood still for their creation, the first exhibition of a motion picture. It was an exhibition of workers leaving the Lumiere factory and a flick of a moving train. Though this ‘cinematographe’ (as the brothers, Auguste and Louis Lumiere called it) was the first of its kind, there were already precursory devices that gave the illusion of motion. These devices included the Edward Muybridge’s own creation. Leland Stanford, an erstwhile Governor of California, USA had mandated Edward Muybridge to prove a bet that he had with his friends about the state of the hooves of a horse in motion. After a lot of brainstorming, the later got still cameras placed on the track of a horse in motion. The result produced twenty four sequential pictures. He made the former win the bet as his discovery showed that the four hooves of a horse leave the ground at the same time when it is in motion.
Thus, with this experiment, Edward Muybridge made one of the first attempts towards the invention of a device with the illusion of motion. Based on the success of the Muybridge experiment, Thomas Edison and his employee William Dickson created the Kinetoscope and his studio was called the Black Maria. With his establishment of the Black Maria, this studio became a money making venture as viewers paid to take a look at the peep show. In other words, the cinematic industry began as a money making venture. It was on this predicate that the Lumiere brothers decided to utilize the film medium for a money making venture. They went as far as touring many countries in Europe to exhibit their films as it was on one of their tours that George Melies, the magician turned filmmaker requested to buy one of their products, but the Lumiere brothers refused.
Though the films were crude, without form style, composition, adequate camera technique and movement and plot, the spectators were mesmerized with the actions such as workers walking out of the Lumiere factory, a train in motion and other comic flicks. The basic functionality of film at this time was entertainment. Being bored of mere flicks of happenings, the Russian Monarch, Nicholas 11 saw the spectatorship of film a waste of time as he states in Reeves: I consider the cinema as an empty, totally useless and even harmful form of entertainment. Only an abnormal person could place his farcical business on a par with art. It is complete rubbish and no importance what so ever should be attached to such stupidities (2).
It is what could be termed, art for art’s sake, because these films told no adequate stories. It was not until two notable filmmakers joined the art that film became tilted towards other functionalities as subsequent films became information and education functional. Stating the impact of the French filmmaker, George Melies and the American, Edwin Porter, Getlein and Gardiner posit, The discovery that movies are a form of fiction was made in the early years of the century and it was made chiefly by two men, a French magician, George Melies and an American employee of Edison, Edwin S. Porter. Of the two, Porter is justly the better known, for he went far beyond the vital findings of fiction for films to take the first step toward fashioning a language of film, toward making the motion picture the intricate, efficient time machine that it has remained since, even in most inept hands (49).
With the fusion of camera movement, a complete story line and editing, the film medium took a different dimension and facet. Citing Maxim Gorky, Reeves states that, “one of the very early Lumiere films had been watched by the writer Maxim Gorky and he was deeply impressed by what he saw… he was sure that there would be a wide use for such a medium” (3), because of the visual appeal of this new medium and its communicative power which attracts the spectator’s appeal. In the same vein, Leonid Andreyev commented thus: “The miraculous cinema… The great Cinema! It copes with everything, conquers everything, conveys everything” (3).
Besides the above opinions on the viability of the medium, Shehu posits: “Lenin, the leader of the Soviet revolution had earlier referred to film as the most important of all the arts for the construction of socialism” (19). Supporting this assertion, Sarah and Street state that, “…Lenin declared film to be the most important art and attempted to encourage domestic production and exhibition” (6). This was what made the Russian filmmaker, Sergei Eisenstein to opine that the motion picture can bring realism and spectacle into the houses where theatre has failed. Adolf Hitler also showed the film medium to preach his gospel of the policy on the valourization of Euthanasia. The Nazis introduced Euthanasia action in 1939. Over 5000 mentally and physically handicapped children were killed. Even adult patient who were mentally imbalanced were taken to specially equipped asylum and gassed. Consequently, Forbes and Street state that, “film was seen as a superb medium for the dissemination of Nazi ideas…” (14-15). For instance, Sergei Eisenstein’s production of Battle Ship Potemkin was towards the view to propagandize the effect of capitalism and the bourgeoisie syndrome. This is what led to the ban of the film in the embryonic stage of its release as stated by Walt Disney: Between 1942 and 1945, during World War II, Walt Disney was involved in the production of propaganda films for the U.S. government. The widespread familiarity of Walt Disney's productions benefited the U.S. government in producing pro-American war propaganda in an effort to increase support for the war.
Walt Disney, an American film production company of repute helped the American government in popularizing its purpose in its quest to fight in World War II. Because of its popularity as one of the best film production outfit in Hollywood, these films were a success. These films include Prelude to War and America Goes to War. “The war demonstrated the potential for the use of the cinema in information and propaganda and it also consolidated the belief in the broader, indirect, economic significance of the cinema” (Forbes and Street 6). The above chronicle of film shows the potentiality, effectiveness and the effectuality of film.
However, as the film medium grew in the western world, what was its fate in Africa precisely in Nigeria, a British colony in particular? It is on this ground that we do a historical survey of film in Nigeria.
Video Film in Nigeria: A Retrospect
The film medium was first introduced into Nigeria in 1903 courtesy of Herbert Macaulay and the Balboa collaboration. This film was exhibited at the Captain John Glover memorial hall, Lagos. Thus, the “Glover memorial hall became the epicenter of film show” (Daramola 202). Based on the success of the film exhibited by the Balboa film exhibition company, the colonial masters decided to delve into film exhibition. But theirs was for a purpose, propaganda! Thus, they exhibited propaganda film “which tells of the superiority of the white man to the blacks with the Tarzan series” (Okome 29). They saw the potency of the film medium in influencing and cajoling its audience. This is not far- fetched from the functionality of the medium which educates, inform on the prevalent issues in the society as well as entertain.
The film medium could also be propagandistic as it is exemplified in the role it played in the First and Second World War as Lenin, the former president of Russia, saw the film medium as the most effective of all the arts while Adolf Hitler used it as an instrumental force to World War II. In the same light, the Nigerian Colonial government used this medium to tell its colony that they had a common enemy in the Germans, so, they ought to fight the Germans in the light of unity and cohesion. Thus, the Colonial Film Unit (CFU) was established in Nigeria and other British colonies in Africa. Achebe cited in Ogunleye contends that, “all art is propaganda” (69). The Colonial Film Unit became a replica of Achebe’s assertion as the main purpose of establishing this body, was to propagate their ideology.
At the attainment of independence, the Federal Film Unit (FFU) was formed to substitute the Colonial Film Unit (CFU). The purpose was to indigenize the content of film and produce Nigerian culture oriented films. Mgbejume states that, “the Federal Film Unit did not make any appreciable effort at creating an indigenous cinema; instead, it began the exhibition of the same colonial documentaries” (44). In 1962 and 1963, the first films were produced, but they were documentaries, titled Bound for Lagos and Culture in transition. It was not until 1970 that the first feature film was produced and it was an adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s Kongi’s Harvest. Eddie Ugbomah, Ola Balogun, Adamu Halilu, and Sanya Dosunmu among others led the campaign for an indigenous cinema tradition but some of them such as Eddie Ugbomah could fulfill this purpose as his films were of western themes. This duly contrasts Adeoye’s comment that, “…the theatre exists primarily for a people and any attempt to insulate the theatre from the people will serve nobody” (45). Also, the Yoruba travelling theatre practitioners such as Hubert Ogunde and Moses Olaiya Adejumo produced films which the populace could understand and flow along with because of the utility of the indigenous language, setting and other cultural aesthetics.
Besides generating money with this medium, the cultural nuances were also propagated. The functional art of the travelling theatre was transcribed from the stage to the screen. Barclays Ayakoroma observed that the period of 1970s and the early 1980s was the golden era of the film tradition in Nigeria (3). The cause for the above assertion is that in “the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) of the late 1980s led to the inability of the filmmakers to ply the cine trade” (Ekwuazi 202). Thus the cinema tradition became a thing of history. Some of the filmmakers decided to experiment with the video medium as Haynes opines that, “Kenneth Nnebue’s Igbo language video film, Living in Bondage (1992) gave birth to the revolutionized filmmaking in Nigeria.” Apart from being a box office success, this film was done in the Igbo language, sub-titled in English, as well as exploring the prevalent issues of ritual practices and the craze for material wealth of the contemporary Nigerian society.
Taking advantage of the success of the video film, Kenneth Nnebue produced a sequel to it, Living in Bondage 2; thus, the birth of the craze of sequels in the Nigerian film industry. An influx of cineastes especially those that have been in the Television serial sector, towed the same route as Kenneth Nnebue and this led to the production of video films such as, “Circle of Doom (Ogunjiofor, 1993), Jezebel (Agu, 1994), Nneka: The Pretty Serpent (Ejiro & Dawodu, 1994), The Battle of Musanga (Dawodu, 1996), Ikuku (Ani, 1996), King Jaja (Agina, 1999)…” (Ayakoroma 6). Thus, the transition from the film medium into the video-medium was a thing of circumstance. But it could be said to have yielded fruitful result as a lot of Nigerians and non-Nigerians home and abroad benefit from the result of the video film venture.
Apart from being the third biggest film industry in the world, Nollywood has led to the employment of thousands of people. If there was no Nigerian video-film, perhaps there would not be television channels such as Hi Nollywood, African Magic, and Irokotv among others. With the emergence of the video-film medium, the first point of culture contact for a man of a distant culture is perhaps the visual medium. For instance, as children, the researchers first saw the complexion of the white man, the way he speaks and his outlook to life with via the American, Chinese and Indian films shown on television. Supporting this assertion, Shehu opines that “through the films produced in Hollywood, American culture, American perception of reality, American foreign policy, new fashion trends and American technological and scientific advances are daily transmitted to the world…” (73).
The implication of the above assertion is that the people were able to see how developed the first world countries were as well. The military might, the economic sophistication, moral and social flexibility which contrasts the rigidity of African cultural norms and the development of these countries were explicated via these films. But how does the word video-film correlate with national development? Is it a myth or reality? It is on this ground that the possibility of this medium as a panacea for national development is evaluated.
Video Films and National development
Development is “an incident that causes a situation to change or progress… the process of changing and becoming larger, stronger or more impressive, successful, or advanced, or causing somebody or something to change in this way” (Encarta dictionaries). Development is a state of not being static or retrogressing. Development is a comprehensive approach or process of change that is primarily concerned with people’s freedom, socio-political, economic and environmental relationships. Walter Rodney opined that “development in human society is a many-sided process” (9). Defining development, Iorapuu asserts that, Development is a planned activity aimed at directing the process of change primarily from the perspective of people, whether large-scale or small-scale, no matter how slowly, and the people who are involved are those whose lives will be changed and those who will be enabled by changes in knowledge, skills and attitudes to improve the quality of their situation (Iorapuu 10).
It is from this perspective of development that the thrust of the study focuses on video-film as a panacea for development. Video-film is therefore a drug for growth and advancement, development, improvement and progress. This development could come in various facets such culture, economy, social, political and moral among others. Therefore, video-film medium as a tool for national development is considered under these aforementioned facets of development. Understanding the concept of development from the perspective of building people’s capacity, involving citizenry in the democratic process and engaging them in solving problems that pertain to the state is cardinal to the thematic thrust in video-films. The place of knowledge, acquisition of necessary skills for life and purpose and culturing the right attitude and mentality are essential to build the right environment. In fact, such are development catalyst because pattern of life to a great extent is determined by pattern of thought, mind-set, orientation and mentality. Hence, functionalities of video film medium centre on pedagogy, education, entertainment which gear towards teaching and informing for right life pattern which will help build the right citizens for a purpose driven and development focused society.
Development and transformation in Africa cannot proceed without the full contribution of its people. In Hullen’s words, It is manifestly unacceptable that the people and their organizations be excluded from the decision-making process. It is manifestly unacceptable that popular participation be seen as anything less than the centre piece on the struggle to achieve economic and social justice for all (21).
Panacea, according to the Encarta dictionaries, states that panacea is: “a supposed cure for all diseases or problems.” It refers to a remedy solution for difficulties or diseases. For a remedy to be put in place, it is assumed that there is a problem on ground. There ought to be a drawback, setback, difficulty or hindrance on ground. There cannot be a solution, when there is no setback in place. Therefore, panacea is a drug and video-film medium becomes a remedy or drug to employ for national development and even project people’s voice into the development process. National development is therefore examined under these indicators: Culture, Politics, Morality and Economy.
Video Film as a Medium for Archiving, Documenting and Developing Culture
Video films are the portrayal of the culture of a people. It is a representation of the race, the geographical orbit and the cultural constituents of a people. Video films are the reflection of the culture of a people. It garners the mode of dressing, the language, and attitude to life, the mores, traditions and the whole gamut of the totality of a people. This is what makes it a popular art. As a product of the society from which it emanates from, it is the portrayal of this culture that makes the audience to easily decipher a Nigerian video film from European film, Bollywood and Hollywood films. The Nigerian film industry from its inception have succinctly done this as it is exemplified in films made by the Yoruba travelling theatre troupe practitioners such Hubert Ogunde, Adeyemi Afolayan, Moses Olaiya Adejumo. Having seen a lot of films with western preoccupations which the audience could not identify with, they soon found solace in the Yoruba films because it incorporated their culture, their societal issues and what they could easily deduce. Although Ola Balogun made films in Yoruba language, Eddie Ugboma failed in doing this as Haynes puts it that, “Eddie Ugboma’s approach was to make movies influenced by American action or blaxploitation films” (4). The films were urban in setting and deal with crime or political violence; The Rise and Fall of Dr. Oyenusi, Bolus 80, The Death of a Black President. Thus, with the films of Ola Balogun, Hubert Ogunde and a host others, Nigeria popular feature films were born.
With Nollywood which was birthed with Kenneth Nnebue’s Living in Bondage, a film was made in Igbo language in the above mentioned video film. Though titled in the English language and set in an urban and sub urban area, it duly utilized the Ibo language as well as some ritual constituents. Video films such as Festival of Fire, Amadioha, Battle of Musanga, King Jaja, Vuga, Igodo, and Egg of Life, among others, have succinctly projected the Nigeria culture, most notably the culture of the eastern part of Nigeria. These video films have shown the traditional motif and artifacts of the country, thereby projecting the image of the Nigerian past and present. Due to specific languages used in video film in Nigeria, there account for video films in Yoruba, Ibo, Igala, Tiv, Urhobo and Hausa languages among others. Through this, culture is being preserved; cultural identity is ensured and video-film documents development of culture.
Furthermore, video-films help in documenting history for future generation. Films such as Jeta Amata’s Amazing Grace archive history behind the song amazing grace as the film maker weaved the story around slavery as experienced during the colonial period. Blood and Oil, set in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, depicts the course for which the Niger Delta militants are fighting for. Though this video film does not support the act of kidnapping, it shows the dirty business the government involves itself in. Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen in Issakaba, is critical of not only rituals, but also thievery and the aftermath of such acts. Ukala posits that, “The creative artist has the attributes of a healer. He concocts. And if his concoction is efficacious, it heals the diseases of the society” (3). Film is the most effective tool with which these messages could be passed across. Little wonder Lenin, the former Russian leader states that of all the arts, the film medium is the most useful. His statement is predicated on the functionality of this medium of communication.
Video Film as a Medium for Political Development
This medium also helps in documenting political development in the country. This is because it keeps history and records characters of the ruler of the day, it helps in forecasting the political undertone of the day. It rescues the future leaders from committing the blunders that their predecessors committed and imbibe the right attitudes and character needed for true leadership. In Igodo, for instance, this historical epic video film is a metaphor for the necessity of heroism and patriotism in a nation. The plot is rendered briefly: Some men are sent to the land of the living dead to retrieve a knife that would put an end to the pestilences in the land. These men happily undertake the journey despite the hazards involved and only one of them returns alive.The act of heroism and patriotism is revealed which has a great statement on the historical and cultural background of Nigeria. Many benefits being enjoyed today in Nigeria were as a result of the heroic and patriotic deeds of our forefathers. For a nation to develop, the art and act of patriotism can’t be undermined.
The parlance that ‘politics is a dirty game’ has its root in the belief that politicians are not safe wherever they go and for this, adequate measures especially security have to be put in place to facilitate the safety of their lives, that of their family members and properties. In Escape from Congo, the president’s daughter is kidnapped with her friend during the party at the beach. The kidnappers ask the father to resign as president. All attempt to rescue the hostage proved futile. It was later revealed that the kidnap was an attempted coup by the president’s ally. At last serenity is restored as the hostage escapes, the kidnappers are killed and the coup plotter is arrested. Though politics is a dirty game, there is also the necessity to play by the rules. An attempt to contravene the rules could culminate into one’s political upheaval, crisis and conflicts that may lead to the death of people and wanton destruction. A society involved in crisis would be devoid of development, progressive change and positive transformation.
Video Film as Agent for PreservingMorals and Building Right Characters
From the inception of Nollywood, which was birthed with Kenneth Nnebue’s video film, Living in Bondage in 1992, various themes have been explored via this medium. For instance, films such as Living in Bondage, Billionaire Club and Rituals express the futility of money ritual and ill-gotten wealth. In Living in Bondage, Andy, uses his wife for money ritual. On the long run, he becomes rich but unfortunately, the law of retributive justice catches up with him as the ghost of his wife, Merit, troubles him. He finally confesses which restores his sanity. Thus, the theme of futility of ill-gotten wealth was depicted. The filmmaker, as an artist, uses his work of art to preach the gospel of morality. Therefore, Living in Bondage acts as a panacea for moral resuscitation of a nation whose moral values are fast dying, a society which is in its lowest ebb. In Billionaire Club, the billionaires (who are at the same time cultists) use their both close and distant persons for ritual. Their end product is destruction. The video film presents law of Karma on individuals and the society at large. Ukala, citing Jeyifo, states that, … unless Nigerian literary drama shows an acute concern with urgent contemporary issues and also reflects the concerns and aspirations of the popular urban and rural masses especially their economic and political situations, that drama may never be popular (281-282).
Thus, the issues of rituals and ritual killings that have ravaged the Nigerian society have been revealed in video-film creations in time past. In 1999, there was the case of Clifford Orji in Lagos, The case of human skulls being discovered in Okija shrine, human parts being discovered at Ibadan in 2014, the remains of humans and clothes discovered under a bridge in Otokutu, Delta state, Nigeria, and a lot of others. This has led to the underdevelopment of some of these areas, or in some cases led to slow development due to the fact that the populace felt insecure. With the video-films projecting themes of rituals and ritual killings with a destructive critique of this act, this could lead to the purification of this trait in the lives of the perpetrators of such act. As cited by Augusto Boal, this is what Aristotle referred to as ‘catharsis’: a system of wills that represent concretely, individually, the justifiable ethical values, and which come into conflict because one of the characters possess a tragic flaw, or commits a tragic error. After the catastrophe, when the flaw is purged, serenity returns necessarily; equilibrium is re-established. The two philosophers seem to say that the world returns to its perennial stability, its infinite equilibrium, its eternal repose (105).
Development of every nation begins from the individual. His mentality, attitude and behavioural traits must be positive. Thus, these video-films attempt to change the changers of the society. One of Teco Benson’s celebrated video-films, Formidable Force depicts the negative implications of do or die politics as Ifeanyi Onyeabor’s Who Owns the City mirrors the dark side of drug trafficking. For instance, Nana Kojo, Jack Kente and Tony Magabush in Ifeanyi Onyeabor’s workare drug barons. The society abhors hard drugs such as cocaine, marijuana, heroin and other nuisances in the society especially among the youths. They do this business under the nose of the police force since the latter are being bribed with money, in order to have police protection. The climax portrays numerous deaths which include that of a police woman and the three drug barons. The film maker does not valorise the act of drug trafficking, but points out its harmful repercussion. The film maker also points out that the police force is corrupt and as such, it should be reviewed by the government. In essence, if the Nigeria Police Force is to effectively execute her duties, then, there is need to desist from all corrupt practices.
Summarily, positive values and norms could be preached using the video film medium. In Festival of Fire, a barbaric culture is mirrored. It deliberates on the issue of the killing of twins especially in some African tribes and particularly in Calabar. It is a deconstruction of the act of killing of twins. Therefore the video film preaches the gospel of morality, sound character and humanity.
Video Film Medium in Economic Development
In the spectrum of economic development, giant strides could be made in various facets. The American film industry popularly called Hollywood has created employment for thousands of people. These personnel are in the craft of scriptwriting, directing, costuming, producing, stunting, choreography, editing, cinematography, acting, law, agency, acting tutors, special effect technicians, set designing, property personnel, location managing, casting directing, marketing outfits and others. Perhaps the studio system as espoused by Hollywood contributed immensely to this development. Thus, the American government generates revenue worth millions of dollars annually. A proper co-ordination of the various art of the video film art could facilitate growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Nigerian economy, as well as facilitating employment for the millions of unemployed youths roaming the street.
Despite the fact that Nollywood was birthed more than twenty years ago, a lot still have to be done to utilize the medium to its full capacity. In the inception of the film tradition, cinema houses thrived as people purchased tickets to watch films being exhibited. Ayakoroma states that, “Most of the cinema houses were dilapidated, to the extent that they were used as warehouses that did not house wares or were at best places of worship for new generation Pentecostal churches” (4). The cinema tradition which thrived in the golden era of the film medium, went into extinction for insecurity reasons but a resuscitation of this tradition will not only boost an increase of the employment rate, but it will also facilitate social development.
In Nigeria, currently, what could be classed standard cinema houses in Nigeria are the Silver Bird Cinema, Kwararafa Cinema, Jos, and The Film House Cinema, Surulere, among a few others located in different urban cities in the country. This situation contrasts what can be found in the first world nations where the cinema tradition is at its peak. In countries such as the United States of America, Britain and Canada, there are hundreds of cinema houses and this has facilitated the success in the premiere of their films, such as, Titanic, Passion of Christ, Lord of the Rings, Spider Man, Avatar, Troy, and Pirate of the Caribbean, and other successful world blockbusters. In fact, films are premiered and shown in cinema houses before being released to be sold to individuals either online or offline.
Bayo Akinfemi, a Nigerian born Hollywood actor and filmmaker during a cinematography workshop in University of Ilorin stated that, “though piracy is a recurrent affair in the film industry, its effect is very low in Hollywood.” The implication of the above assertion is that piracy is curbed in Hollywood in contrast to the Nigerian situation where before a producer barely begins to market his film, it had been churned into the film market by pirates. Kunle Afolayan, a reputable Nigerian film producer cum director lamented on the high rate of piracy in Nigeria which he experienced on his film October 1. According to him, the total budget of the film was ‘two hundred million naira’ but he is yet to recoup the cost of production (“Kunle Afolayan laments…”). The piracy phenomenon could deter the filmmakers from making quality and high budget films. If the piracy menace is well tackled the video film medium could facilitate national growth as private investors would be willing to invest their resources into the venture.
In the same vein, the success of a nation is slim without proper communication. Hence, film is a medium of communication. It can succinctly communicate to its audience alongside television and radio media. Commenting on the subject of communication in a society, Adanri presupposes that, The medium of communication in the modern world has become standardized. It requires considerable resources both human and material, skills, organization and sophisticated technology. This has had to be developed over the years because of the importance attached to communication in a society. Society is impossible without communication that socialization takes place. Breakdown of communication can result in a breakdown of law and order in a given community (11).
Thus, the video film medium facilitates communication for development, then, if properly utilized, the video-film can act as a panacea for nation building, societal cohesion and national development. Video film as a tool for national economy posits that through the video film medium, there is creation of employment; instill employability skills and entrepreneurship which have great impact on the nation’s economy. Apart from the impact of video-film medium on the GDP of the nation’s economy, the various processes involved provide opportunity for employment, and develop right employability and entrepreneurship skills among the people.
We have attempt to explore the impact of video-film as a panacea for national development using different examples from video-films. This assertion has been examined from the perspective of culture, morality, politics, and economy. Video film medium is both a weapon of mass destruction and construction because the technological devices and network available in this present global age has uplifted the eminence of video film medium in archiving and developing culture; creating and tailoring discourse that pertains to politics, policies and polities; and empowering various age cadre and expertise in entrepreneurship and economic development among others.
Therefore, the developing countries of the world, especially Nigeria need to capitalize on the reputation, population and vast experience that her Nollywood has gained already in order to foster national development. Globally accepted initiatives should be adopted; professional development and empowerment is essential to improve the quality, exposure and experience of our video-film makers; collaboration and networking should be encouraged and contrary attitudes should be frowned at.
Furthermore, there is need for creation of more film festivals in order to encourage for both amateurs and professionals in this field in order to showcase their productions; connect and network for partnership. Funding initiatives to encourage both emerging and emerged veterans in this field is recommended so that more revenue can be generated for the nation and the productions from Nollywood can stand shoulder high with her counterparts from the rest of the world.
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- Stephen Ogheneruro OKPADAH graduated from the Department of Theatre Arts, Delta State University, Abraka and he is presently a postgraduate student at the Department of the Performing Arts, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.
- Taiwo Okunola AFOLABI graduated from the Department of Theatre and Film Arts, University of Jos and he is presently undertaking his postgraduate studies in Performing Arts at the Department of the Performing Arts, University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria.