The National Film and Video Censors Board and the Alliance Francaise have signed an agreement to showcase and distribute the two countries movies through the “French-Nigerian Film Distribution Conference”.
The agreement was signed during a courtesy visit by Jerome Pasquier, Ambassador of France to Nigeria, to the Headquarters of the NFVCB on Tuesday in Abuja.
Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director of the board and Arnand Durnon, Director of the Institue Francaise signed the agreement on behalf of the two organisations.
Thomas, in his remarks, said that the collaboration was to present a platform where investors, producers, distributors and other stakeholders in the motion picture industries of both countries could meet for mutually beneficial deals.
He noted that the collaborative venture will, among other incentives, encourage and promote the distribution of Nollywood movies in France.
He explained that both parties have conceived ‘French-Nigerian Cinema Days’, to screen and showcase the two countries movies, as part of the distribution conference scheduled to hold later in the year.
He said: “Our Nigerian distributors would be more than happy to collaborate with big time French distributors such as Pathe, Studiocan and Bacfilms as planned in the coming collaboration conference.
“The French distributors take delight in releasing movies from many different nationalities, whether big or small, as it is their belief that the French moviegoers love movies from around the world.
“France prides itself as a country of moviegoers with over 5,000 screens,while in Nigeria, we are proud to say that we have achieved 200 screens, from 39 in the last two years.
“Its film industry is acclaimed to be living ‘La vie en rose’ (life in roses), that its Nigerian counterpart would love to attain.”
The Executive Director, however, decried the high rate of piracy as a major bane facing the evolving Nigerian moving industry, especially with the emergence of digital distribution platforms.
He, therefore, solicited for technical support from France to make the sector strive with piracy effectively nipped.
He said: “Let me not pretend that all is well with the industry as we have serious piracy issue in Nigeria, though piracy is not directly within the regulatory purview of the NFVCB.
“Secondly, with the pervasive nature of ICT, online distribution/exhibition of movies has created regulatory nightmare for us at the NFVCB.
“France, no doubt, has experience in handling these issues and we therefore solicit technical support from you in tackling these issues.”
In his remarks, Pasquier, the French Envoy, said he was delighted at the partnership, adding that it was a common ground for both countries to grow their film industries and also strengthen bilateral relations.
He said: “The film industries in France and Nigeria are contributing a lot to their economies, and this agreement will further present opportunities for both countries.
“This will bring better relationships, not just between the two countries government, but between their citizens as well.
“Private investors of both countries will sure benefit from this collaboration, in terms of investment in distributions and marketing of films.”
NAN reports that the NFVCB is a Federal Government body that regulates the films and video industry in Nigeria.
The board is empowered by law to classify all films and videos, whether imported or produced locally.
It is also the duty of the Board to register all films and videos outlet across the country, as well as keep a register of such registered outlets, among other functions.