By Magnus Eze
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), sees filmmaking as a veritable tool for tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria.
In reaffirming its support for filmmaking as a means of promoting culture and social values in the country, UNESCO in partnership with the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSDCC) is supporting a talent hunt to build and guarantee the future of 60 young filmmakers.
Daily Sun gathered that a two-week camp would open in December in Abuja, after the on-going registration of interested applicants and auditioning.
At a press briefing in Abuja on filmmaking capacity building project tagged: ‘Unleash Ur Creativity’, Director of UNESCO Regional Office, Ydo Yao, said the success of the Nollywood had shown that filmmaking can tremendously support economic growth and sustainable development in Nigeria, especially by providing jobs for large number of people.
UNESCO National Professional Officer, Ifeanyi Ajaegbo, who represented the Director noted that filmmaking was a veritable tool for cultural orientation.
He showered encomiums on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration for realising that the cinema could help the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“This was indicated in its willingness to support the development of African Cinema during the visit of UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokova to Nigeria in August 2016. Coming from Mr. President himself, UNESCO considers this a very strong commitment indeed, one which is being amply mirrored in this intervention to build capacity of young filmmakers,” he said.
He advised the project managers to uphold gender equality in the selection of beneficiaries of the programme in line with UNESCO’s priorities for the medium term period 2014-2021.
The brain behind the ‘Unleash Ur Creativity’ project, Emmanuel Eyaba explained that it was designed to empower African youths through filmmaking.
The American-trained filmmaker said movies could be deployed to curb social vices including youth restiveness, drug abuse, prostitution, militancy, terrorism and kidnapping as well as unemployment
He disclosed that 60 young people would be camped for 14 days and trained in the act of movie making, adding that this year’s thematic areas were on agriculture as a means of sustainable livelihood, peaceful co-existence among Nigerians, effects of kidnapping, climate change and youth deregulation.
Eyaba said the project presently in its third edition had transformed many jobless Nigerian youths to self-dependent, productive and successful filmmakers.
According to him, the 60 lucky ones would be visited in camp by professional filmmakers and celebrities who would train and share experiences with them.
They would finally be divided into teams and each group tasked with making short films on the topics allotted to them.
He stated that the professional filmmakers and the audience would screen the films and at the end of the day.
“The best group will be empowered financially to produce a feature film with N10 million and a one-year contract 2ET Media Network.
“The idea is for us to churn out one big film each year from seemingly young filmmakers, which will feature ‘A’ list actors in Nollywood but the production will be supervised by us from the inception to the cinema hall.”
Eyaba lamented that one of the major challenges of the project in the two previous editions, was securing the N10 million production funds for the winning teams to make their films.
However, the partnership with a non-governmental organisation, Entrepreneurship Enhancement Centre is expected to address the challenge.
Regardless, the project managers were quite optimistic that the involvement of UNESCO and the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council would add the required impetus and make it sustainable.
Participants would include story tellers, cinematographers, light technicians, editors, sound, producers and directors.
As a seal of transparency on the project, Eyaba said: “While they are working, the audience will be watching their efforts and people will know how things are done behind the camera; from the scripting period, down to the selection of actors; choosing of locations, rehearsals, principal photography, to the editing of the movie.”
But, he would not name the celebrities that will be visiting the camp from time to time to give the house mates tips on filmmaking when it eventually opens.