EXCLUSIVE: Film Festival: How Chidia Maduekwe secured $5m revenue rated MoU

On Thursday the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) led by its Managing Director, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the hosting of the 12th Edition of the Zuma Film Festival.

The signing is historical as this is the first time since the creation of the film festival that a state Government Administration backed by the Federal government will host and sponsor the event annually.

The epoch signing ceremony had in attendance the high ranking cabinet members of the FCT Administration headed by the Minister of State (FCT) ,Ramatu Tijani Aliyu who was represented by the FCT Permanent Secretary, Mr. Olusade Adesola and NFC Team led it’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe.

With the new development the 2021 Zuma Film Festival rescheduled to hold in April 2022 is generate a gross estimate of 5 million dollars (₦2.5 billion) in direct revenue from merchandising, in addition to tax revenue in excess of $2 million (₦1 billion) in addition to direct and indirect job creation.

Dr. Chida in a press statement added that the estimated revenues can be achieved through interest, international participation , co- production agreement and traffic generation for increased film production shoot within the FCT.

The NFC Boss likened the revenue evaluation to the 2020 participation in the Salt Lake City Utah, host city of Sundance Film Festival, which cost an estimated $149,000 (₦74 Million), and created over three thousand jobs for citizens of the city. The festival made $5 million (₦2.5 billion) in direct revenue from merchandising, in addition to tax revenue in excess of $2 million (₦1 billion) within ten days.

During the signing formalities, FCTA’s Mallam Bashir Mohammed in his opening remarks recalled how Dr. Chidia Maduekwe proposed the partnership initiative to the FCTA in 2019 to host the 2020 Zuma film festival.

According to him, due to the COVID-19 pandemic talks were stalled and the event couldn’t be held in 2020.

However a committee was instituted by the Hon Ramatu to hold talks with the management of the Nigerian Film Corporation to deliberate on how it will undertake the hosting of the motion picture festival.

The meetings included the drafting of the memorandum and identifying specific areas in which both parties will contribute their quota in order to achieve collaboration and synergy for a sustainable hosting of the very important event.

The FCTA Committee met severally with Dr. Chidia’s NFC team which resulted in having an agreeable memorandum of understanding and was submitted to the authority for consideration.

The memorandum of understanding was subsequently considered and approved by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Alhaji Mohammed Musa Bello and the Minister of State, Dr. Ramatu Tijani Aliyu.

Chidia Maduekwe who spoke to newsmen in a brief interview shortly after the MoU signing said the 12 Edition of the Zuma Film Festival was taking a new dimension as a result of the partnership with the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the support of the Federal Government. He noted the collaboration is in line with the current global trends in the hosting of film festivals.

Chidia Maduekwe, the CEO of the NFC, said Abuja was carefully selected to host the festival, to showcase the beauty and economic potential of the city to the international community.

“The difference us enormous for the first time we are having a host city, the government of a state because FCT is like a state , and you have the Minister declaring that the FCT Minister us backing up the Festival that means that the Federal Government is throwing their weight to what is being done at the MDA level .

“You cannot expect anything less because these are global standards. I just came back from South Africa in Durban and the mayor of Durban was very much involved. The state took over the film festival or trade fair in Durban and that is what is going to be replicated here.

“That is the capacity we are bringing here and that automatically translates major participation not just within Nigeria but outside the country. Nigeria should be a destination for the celebration of cinematic excellence not just talking about us being the second largest producers of films in the world , Chidia said.

The NFC Boss stated further that Nigeria is expected to move from quantity to quality in terms of production.

“Yes, we are producing good quality films but we should move ahead from numbers to quality. We should move away from numbers to monetization, we should move from jobs to wealth creation. It is such a film festival that gives the enabling environment that draws our youths to cross fertilise their intentions with investors that will come from across the globe.

“It is such environment of the film festival celebration that talents will be identified, they will be given roles to play that’s where you have collaboration agreement so it is huge , it is big and it is humongous and I am happy it has come to stay and like you heard the honourable minister say that that deal is a permanent thing . One thing is assured that we at NFC especially under my watch have domesticated it that film festivals now have Abuja as the host city. It’s a whole lot .

When asked about the future prospect of the deal. He responded;

“In the next 10 years I want this Abuja film festival to be compared to what happens in Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso though a smaller country has the FESPACO we just came back from Durban they have the Durban International Film festival. In Berlin the Berlinale in France we have the Cannes film festival so why can’t the Abuja film festival be that global map? That is what we are seeking to achieve with this partnership with the Federal Capital Territory Administration.

On the expected 5 million dollar revenue Chidia said that the estimated revenue is dependent on the participation, considering what happens in some of the other places. Stressing that increase in participation, traffic , the hotel and the signages will generate maximum financial gains. Chidia divulged that African Export-Import (Afrexim) Bank is interested in partnering with the NFC. He said with Afriexim in the next edition of the film festival they’ll be a film market. The partnership will attract the signing of a lot of co-production agreements and that will roll millions of naira into the ecosystem.

Chidia revealed further that In the area of Job creation NFC plans to escalate the conversation of establishing a film entrepreneurial hub in FCT.
He said
“This entrepreneurial hub, when established, will train over 2000 youths on quarterly basis from the FCT in film business and entrepreneurship with direct positive impact on youth unemployment.

The Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) is a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Information & Culture responsible for planning, promoting and driving an integrated and efficient film industry in Nigeria. It is in line with its mandate to develop and promote the film industry in Nigeria that the Nigerian Film Corporation established the Zuma Film Festival. Over the years, the festival has been strongly positioned as a respectable platform for the African Film industry in line with Nigeria’s status as the largest film market in Africa. The name Zuma was derived from ZUMA ROCK, a landmark at the outskirts of the Nation’s Federal Capital. Abuja, the host city, has state-of-the-art infrastructure; well-structured and accessible network of roads, filmic scenery and exotic world-class hotels to comfortably play host to the festival’s teeming visitors from across the world.

The Zuma film Festival 2021 earlier planned to hold from the 1st to 7th of December has been shifted to 2nd – 9th April, 2022, with the Theme: “Show the Money”! The Venue is the Nigerian Airforce Conference Centre, Kado, Abuja for all other components of the festival except for film screenings that will be held at Silverbird Cinemas at the Jabi Lake Mall.

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