"We Have A Responsibility To Keep Our Stories Alive For The Future Generation" - Oliver O. Mbamara
President of the Nollywood Producers Guild USA Hon. Oliver O. Mbamara Calls for Support in The Telling of African Stories Through Film.
The President of the Nollywood Producers Guild, USA (NPG,USA), Oliver O. Mbamara while speaking at the official inauguration of the Guild in New York, stated that the Guild (NPG,USA) is "engaged in producing African films that promote African culture and help propagate a positive image for Africa." He added that the Guild is "driven by a united vision to lay the foundation and build bridges between African and America/Western story-telling aimed at improving content quality, creating a stable distribution structure, countering piracy, and ensuring fair returns on investments for producers and artists.
Hon. Mbamara who himself has produced over 6 African feature films while also serving as an admin Law Judge noted that Africans must rise to the challenge of telling their own stories. He added that because the task is a gigantic one, filmmakers need all the support they could get in kind or in cash (funding and investments in films). According to him, "Nollywood offers both a voice for our people in today’s dynamic socio-economic environment and a bed of investment opportunities to be explored and enjoyed." He pointed out that "there are many African stories to be told, and many histories and cultures to be safeguarded through the African perspective." He then invited all investors to be ready and willing to partner with African filmmakers to take advantage of these investment opportunities and to help "make these African stories and cultures stay alive for the younger and future generation. We have a responsibility to keep our stories alive for the future generation."
Also speaking during a panel session at the event, one of the speakers, Dr. Sylvester Okere President & CEO of United People for African Congress (UPAC) echoed the sentiments shared by the Guild president Hon. Mbamara calling for Africans to tell their own stories. According to Dr. Okere "The time is now! We can't wait for no one. We have stayed long enough to start doing it ourselves. We have overgrown being baby-seated. We have delayed Africa's development by waiting for some others to do it for us." He added that "the time has come for a stronger solidarity in our own community."
One of Nollywood's leading actresses Uche Jombo who is also a film producer, while speaking as a panelist during the lecture conference session urged the members of the Nollywood Producers Guild, USA not to let politics come in between them and their objectives. She suggested that the Guild should endeavor to make a film at least once a year so they could remain abreast of developments in the industry. The trailer of a new film shot buy a collaboration of mostly members of the Guild "It Takes A Man" was screened at the top of the event.
See Complete transcript of the speech by Dr. Sylvester Okere, and the address by the Guild President, Hon. Oliver O. Mbamara.