On the 14th of October 2023, the School of Media and Communication conducted its monthly Filmmakers’ Forum, which examined the various challenges faced by professionals in the Nigerian film industry and emphasized the vital role of guilds in promoting professionalism.
The forum which was hosted by the Nollywood Studies Centre featured presidents of creative guilds in the industry. They are Dr. Victor Okhai, National President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria (DGN); Mrs. Joy Osaruwa-Akinyemi, National President of the Creative Designers Guilds of Nigeria (CDGN); Mr. Aduloju John, National President of the Cinematographers Society of Nigeria (CSN); and Mr. Yinka Ogun, National President of the Screenwriters Guild of Nigeria (SWGN). Together, they discussed crucial issues affecting the guilds and the industry at large.
Dr. Okhai addressed various challenges confronting practitioners and the guilds, particularly the growing impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the implications of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) for practitioners in Nigeria. AfCFTA, signed by 54 of the 55 African Union members, aims to create a continental marketplace for goods and services, permitting the free movement of people and capital while paving the way for a Customs Union. As the implementation of this agreement looms, the guilds are actively enlightening their members on how to leverage this opportunity and comprehend the potential challenges it may present.
The DGN president emphasized the complex landscape, stating, “You might possess a wealth of knowledge, but when foreign practitioners enter the country under the free trade agreement, we cannot prohibit them from engaging in their craft. The doors have been opened, and we have all committed to this agreement. Consequently, we are acutely aware of this situation and are diligently working to ensure that our members remain at the forefront of their profession and prepared to confront any challenges that may arise.”
All the guild presidents present expressed concerns about practitioners who, despite benefiting from the industry, are reluctant to join the respective guilds and contribute to the industry’s growth.