Lagos State Government on Monday said that the State’s tourism and entertainment potentials will take the centre stage at this year’s edition of the City to City Toronto Film Festival, saying that eight films produced in the State would be selected to feature at the festival.
The State’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, his counterpart in Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, who briefed journalists alongside the Artistic Director Toronto Film Festival, Mr. Cameron Bailey, at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, said the development would help project tourism potential of Lagos to the team audience at the festival.
Ayorinde said the move was in line with the State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode’s campaign promises to make the state a hub for tourism.
He said the eight films to be selected does not necessarily have to be about Lagos, but films produced by directors based in the State.
According to him, "What is important is that the films that will be selected will be films by film makers that are Lagos based it won’t matter what subject matter you are dealing with, it is about the creativity the talent you are exhibiting as a Lagos based film maker that Toronto is interested in."
Ayorinde said the State Government would be fully involved in any collaboration to celebrate the city and market its potentials as well as appreciate the talent of the motion industry.
"What this government policy implies is that the Government will promote any initiative that will project Lagos as the home of film making not only in Nigeria but before the entire world," Ayorinde said.
Folarin-Coker on his part said the move falls in line with government’s policy that entertainment can be used to drive consumption to create employment and improve the revenue generation in the State.
"This falls clearly in line with Governor Ambode’s mantra of THESE which stands for Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, and Sports for Excellence," Coker said.
He also revealed that the long term plan of the Government is to take back dead public spaces such as under the bridges across the State and develop it for residents to exhibit and develop their talents.
The Commissioner also informed that the State is collaborating with Federal Government to build a car park at the new museum to help drive tourism.
Explaining the drive behind the Lagos and Toronto spotlight for the Festival, Cameron said much of the films Lagos produces are not being showcased in Toronto, explaining that the idea is to seize the opportunity of this year’s festival to begin a new dawn for Nigerian films.
“We have had films like Tunde Kelani’s Abeni feature at the festival as well as Half of a Yellow Sun, which is a collaboration between Nigeria and the UK, but I think this is an opportunity to do more and to go bigger. So what we are doing this year is a spotlight on the film makers who live and work here in Laos. We have been so impressed with the ingenuity and creativity of individual film makers who have made the Nigeria film industry one of the largest in the planet,” Cameron said.
He said Lagos, like Los Angeles, Paris and Mumbai is one of the big capitals of film around the world.
He said films produced in Nollywood have spread all over the world, saying though the Nigeria Film business has gone global; the next step was to fully integrate it into the international film industry.
“The films that are bought and sold at our Festival, the films that are written about and reported on by the critics and film journalists, the audiences that embrace the films that go on to win the big prizes like the Oscars, those films should include the films from Nigeria, the films from Lagos; the heart of this industry that has become so large and dominant around the world. This is what really projects the image of Lagos and Nigeria, the stories that are being told resonate with the people whether or not they set foot on this country,” Cameron said.