Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, has announced a grant of N50 million to help fast-track the careers of the pioneer set of the ABS Film Academy.
Announcing the grant at the graduation ceremony of the pioneer set of the Academy in Awka at the weekend, Governor Obiano declared that it was the intention of his administration to ensure that Nollywood returns to Anambra State which is its original home.
The Governor’s gesture to Nollywood is a major part of his strategic effort to establish a thriving Creative Economy in Anambra State which he started early this year with the inauguration of the Anambra Creative Economy Agency headed by Dr. Nicholas Okoye.
He commended the Managing Director/Chief Executive Director of the ABS, Nze Uche Nworah, for the initiative, pointing out that he had envisioned ABS to be of like standard with internationally acclaimed broadcast stations and had invested huge amounts of money to digitise the station.
He further revealed that his administration was working through the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artwork, Culture and Tourism to establish shooting locations and movie villages to give impetus to efforts at harnessing the prospects that abound in the entertainment industry in the state.
The governor charged the graduands to emulate renowned actors who had made their marks in the movie industry to be able to go far in their careers.
Earlier in his address, the Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba, explained there were plans by the government to include training on entrepreneurship in the curriculum of the next batch of students of the academy, noting that the programme was a typical example of the governor’s stance on doing more with less.
Also in his welcome remarks, the CEO of ABS, Nze Uche Nworah, commended Governor Obiano for the support he had given to the ABS Film Academy and pledged that the Academy would continue to work hard until it achieved its objectives.
Nworah also noted that the 3-month old academy started with 35 students but only 27 fulfilled the minimum requirements for graduation.
He announced that the Ford Foundation had offered a scholarship to the best graduating student from the Academy to the New York Film Academy for further training.
In a goodwill message, Veteran Actor and ace broadcaster, Chief Pete Edochie acknowledged that what the state government under the leadership of Governor Obiano was doing in exploring the abundant talents that abound in the entertainment industry in the state was sure to make the state a hub for creative economy in Africa.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Youth Development and Creative Economy of Anambra State, Hon. Bonaventure Enemali, thanked the management of the ABS Film Academy and Governor Obiano for his efforts to meaninhfully engage the youths of Anambra State.
He revealed that there is an ongoing screening for “Anambra got Talent” programme being put together by his ministry and promised that soon, Ndi Anambra would be thrilled by the array of talents within the state.
Also addressing the gathering, Chairman of Anambra State Creative Economy Agency, Dr. Nicholas Okoye, announced that the Agency had received approval to set up 50 Community Cinemas across the state.
He also pledged that Nicky Foundation which he heads had endowed the sum N500,000 to the best graduating student of the ABS Film Academy.
The academy which is fully an ABS initiative, commenced earlier in March, this year with 35 students who were taken through a three month – training course in various aspects of film making including directing, broadcast journalism, script writing, cinematography, makeup /special effects, animation among others.
In the end, 27 students graduated from the Academy after producing five films some of which have been shortlisted for different international awards.
Presentation of certificates by the governor as well as the screening of some of the short films produced by the students formed the highpoints of the ceremony.