L-R: Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde, Artistic Director Toronto Film Festival, Cameron Bailey, Lagos Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Folorunsho Folarin-Coker with Keith Shiri, programmer, Toronto Film Festival.
The Lagos State Government on Monday announced that the state’s tourism and entertainment potential would be showcased in September at the 2016 Edition of Toronto International Film Festival. The first of its kind in Africa. Lagos will feature prominently at the City to City Toronto Film Festival through eight films produced in the State that will be selected to feature at the festival.
This was made known by the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, at a media briefing at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa,Ikeja,Lagos. According to him, the development will further reposition Lagos as a tourists’ destination.
According to Coker, the move falls in line with government’s policy that entertainment can be used to drive consumption to create employment and improve the revenue generation in the State.
“This falls clearly in line with Governor Ambode’s mantra of THESE which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, and Sports for Excellence,” Coker said. He said that the long term plan of the government was to take back “dead” public spaces such as under the bridges across the state and develop them for residents to exhibit and develop their talents.
Folarin-Coker said that the state was collaborating with the Federal Government to build a car park at the new museum to help drive tourism.
His counterpart in Information and Strategy,Steve Ayoride, also noted that the move was in line with the State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode’s campaign promises to make the state a hub for tourism. He said the eight films to be selected does not necessarily have to be about Lagos, but films produced by directors based in the State.
According to him, “What is important is that the films that will be selected will be films by film makers that are Lagos based it won’t matter what subject matter you are dealing with, it is about the creativity the talent you are exhibiting as a Lagos based film maker that Toronto is interested in.
“Ayorinde said the State Government would be fully involved in any collaboration to celebrate the city and market its potentials as well as appreciate the talent of the motion industry. “What this government policy implies is that the Government will promote any initiative that will project Lagos as the home of film making not only in Nigeria but before the entire world, Also,Artistic Director Toronto Film Festival, Cameron Bailey revealed the drive behind the Lagos and Toronto spotlight for the festival was because much of the films Lagos produced were not being showcased in Toronto, explaining that the idea was to seize the opportunity of this year’s festival to begin a new dawn for Nigerian films.
“We have had films like Tunde Kelani’s Abeni feature at the festival, as well as Half of a Yellow Sun, which is a collaboration between Nigeria and the UK, but I think this is an opportunity to do more and to go bigger.
“So, what we are doing this year is a spotlight on the film makers who live and work here in Lagos.
“We have been so impressed with the ingenuity and creativity of individual film makers who have made the Nigeria film industry one of the largest in the planet,’’ Cameron said.He said Lagos, like Los Angeles, Paris and Mumbai, is one of the big capitals of film around the world.
Films produced in Nollywood had spread all over the world, he explained though the Nigeria film business had gone global, the next step was to fully integrate it into the international film industry.
“The films that are bought and sold at our Festival, explained Cameron, “the films that are written about and reported on by the critics and film journalists, the audiences that embrace the films that go on to win the big prizes like the Oscars, those films should include the films from Nigeria,” The films from Lagos; the heart of this industry that has become so large and dominant around the world. This is what really projects the image of Lagos and Nigeria,