Factors Affecting Growth of Film Industry in Africa

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National University of Science and Technologhy



Outline factors hindering the development of film Industry in Africa  
Gebre-Egziabher (2006) notes that film was first introduced in Africa in the 1920s. It was used as a propaganda tool to manipulate the Africans to endorse the white minority rule. Gebre-Egziabher (2006) further mentions that it is in the 1960s that Africans embarked on the production of their own films. These films as noted by scholars, reflected the socio-political experiences particularly the colonial experiences and the post colonial nation building exercise. As the trend continued, more African filmmakers began involved and more African themes were incorporated into the films. Since its introduction in the 1960s, the African film industry has faced a number of challenges that are hindering its growth. This essay shall attempt to discuss the challenges that African filmmaker are facing in their attempt to boost the film industry. Among these challenges include: lack of funding, lack of technology, lack of well equipped training facilities, censorship, equipment shortage and many others that will be outlined and explained below. One of the factors hindering the growth of film industry in Africa is lack of financial resources or limited funding. Movie making as noted by Ogbor (1999) is capital intensive. Shooting a good film requires large sums of money, which can span to $60 million in developed countries to pay for transport, crew, props, equipment hiring and other factors involved in production of film. In African countries this money is not readily available to the filmmaker. What makes the situation worse as noted by Augustine-Ufua Enahora (1989) is that film is a risk business which does not guarantee revenue. For instances, facts in America as noted in a South African Cultural Industries Growth Strategy: Film and Television Report (CIGS) (1998), showed that for every 12 feature films proposed, only one gets made, and for every seven that are made only one makes a profit. This shows how risky the business of film is. If it can make such losses in developed countries the situation could be worse in developing countries like those of Africa. Therefore investing in film is often taken as a gamble (Akashoro 2010:90). Enahora (1989:6) of Nigeria noted that due to the risk nature of the business, financial institutions are often not willing to release funds for film funding and often the poor African filmmaker does not have enough assets to let as collateral security. Ogbor (1999:243) states that financial institutions in Nigeria attach a lot of stringent conditions before leasing funds. He further notes that meeting these conditions, for Nollywood filmmakers, remains an illusion. Some of the conditions are that they would like to know: a)the economic worth of the film industry ( to which data is not readily available and difficult to collect and combine because of the informal nature of the business) b)how much it costs to produce a movie

c)annual turnover of an average movie produced
d)if firms in the movie industry have enough collateral to pledge for credit (the majority cannot meet this requirement) e)formal structures of the film company (where as many of the filmmakers are just entrepreneurs without formal business structures) f)if the company in the film industry have audited accounts (Ogbor 1999:243) The financial problem has been worsened by African governments’ lack of prioritisation of the film industry and its negligence in the mainstream trade and industry despite its potential of being a significant contributor to the development of their economies (www.dac.go.za). For instance, in Zimbabwe, government abandoned film funding in the 1980s. Baya (2011) commenting in Sunday News magazine...
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