ABS film Academy holds maiden graduation
Govt doles out N50m in support
By Stanley Nwako and Chigozie Anueyiagu
ANAMBRA State Government has set aside the sum of N 50 million to support ABS Film Academy in film production.
Governor Willie Obiano disclosed this during the graduation ceremony for the pioneer students of the academy held at the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS), Headquarters in Awka.
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 and special effects, animation, among others.
In the end, 27 graduated, having produced five films, some of which have been shortlisted for international awards.
Governor Obiano, who commended the Managing Director and Chief Executive of ABS, Nze Uche Nworah, for the initiative, said he had envisioned the ABS to compete in standard with internationally -notable broadcast stations and has expended huge amounts of money to digitize the station.
He said his government was working through the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, Indigenous Artwork, Culture and Tourism to establish shooting locations and movie villages in the state, to give impetus to efforts at harnessing the potentials that abound in the entertainment industry.
The governor charged the graduands to emulate renowned actors who have made their marks in the movie industry to be able to go far in the industry.
He further said the state government was putting everything in order in the ongoing construction work in the International Conference Centre, when completed to be one of the best in the whole of Africa.
He further advised Anambra youths to shy away from drug abuse and cultism and to enroll in programs such as this, and make Anambra proud. He however revealed that he planned on making Anambra a center of attraction for movies by building a movie village soon enough.
He was however pleased that ABS has made improvement in digitalization and promised to make sure that ABS will be a CNN standard media house.
The Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, .Chief-Don Adinuba, said 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 program is a typical example of the governor’s stance on doing more with less.
One of the Nollywood legendary actors, Pete Edochie, encouraged the students and showed gratitude to the state government, reminding ndi Anambra, that Anambra is a home to great people such as himself, Chimmanda Adichie, Chinua Achebe and others.
He however, promised to support the graduates by working with them in the industry .
Other celebrities who graced the events were Yul Edochie, Bob Manuel Udokwu and Tony Muonogor.
Earlier in a welcome remarks, the ABS MD, Nze Nworah, noted that the academy which is practical-based, had sourced resource persons from within and outside the ABS to be able to train the graduands, adding that the initiative was envisioned to give vent to the creative abilities of youths in the area of film making.
Grace Okoli, Emmenue , as one of the graduating students in an interview, expressed her joy, and said she learnt a lot in the academy. She however encouraged youths to come and engage themselves in the academy.
Another graduating student Ufondu Chidiebere, stated that the film academy has made him a better Cinematographer and thanked the state government for setting up the programme.
Chairman of the state youth empowerment entrepreneurship and creative council, Dr Nicky Okoye, offered support to the academy by promising to award the sum of N500,000 yearly to the overall best student in the academy and promised that the council is on the verge of creating cinemas in all local government areas within the state.
Other speakers were Commissioner for Youth Entrepreneurship and Creative Economy, Mr Bonaventure Enemali, a Member of the Board of Directors of the Anambra Broadcasting Service, Mr Marcel Mbanafo, a Film and Cinema Industry Executive, Mr Ekene Mkparu, Commissioner for Local Arts And Tourism, Sally Mbanafo and other Commissioners, special advisers, and members of the House of Assembly.
Presentation of certificates to the gradients by the governor, as well as display of some of the short films produced by the students formed the high points of the ceremony.