The problem with Yoruba movie industry— Yomi Fabiyi

Yomi Fabiyi is one of the many producers in the Yoruba movie industry. He is young, and refreshing. He discloses to us in a recent chat, the problem Nigeria Movie industry is facing, with particular interest in Yoruba industry. Yomi came to the scene with Omi Adagun after serving tutelage under Babatunde Omidina (Baba Suwe). The film was widely accepted and he is gearing up for a better repeat with Pajawiri.

On his latest movie, Pajawiri
It is a simple and self explanatory movie with a unique lesson for every household and class of people, without gender or faith bias. It will be out very soon.

Is Yoruba Movie industry healthy?
In the view of most journalists, it is a 'fast growing industry.' But the question is; at what rate? To me, it is the slowest crawling element I have ever seen in terms of collective and individual growth. I can only say some people took advantage of the industry since they are aware of the enormous interest of the Nigerian audience at home and abroad.

This is a heritage given to us by our 'forefathers' in the film industry and we can't afford to laze away with what they laboured to build. There is no doubt, we enjoy undiluted support and patronage of Nigerians on our films and this is because the pioneers were doing it right. Some people have gone far and wide, just to see beyond quality, but with complete greed, and search for cheap popularity, they started embracing quantity production, using the same major components ( actors and perhaps cameras) used in the quality films to reel out substandard movies and the result is what we are having today.

The budget for one of Baba Ogunde's film is worth more than 200 films you have in the Nigerian market today and the question is: “Did Baba or even, his children benefit well from such films and do such films deserve to die natural deaths? There is need for a general clean up of the industry. To say it right, we are not doing film the right way.

Who are to be cleansed - producer, actors, directors or the marketers?
There is need for proper legislation. The industry seriously needs help and no matter whose horse is gored, the change must come.

The Solution
The government, through its parastatals or agencies concerned, must issue legislation that will improve the industry. Part of it is that the government should, first of all, identify which of the movie associations or guilds currently existing in this country is legal and in place. Secondly, they should set up a law for movie producers who are responsible for the output of junks we have around. Take for instance; it is easier for the government to send circulars to all these associations that none of its members should henceforth shoot a movie below 16mm, 35mm (celluloid) camera or HDV.

They could compel the Nigerian Films and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) not to approve any film producer with substandard techniques. There is a difference in shooting a film and a home video. What we shoot as films are basically in TV formats and merely home videos. Furthermore, I think they could advise that any prospective film maker should secure a minimum level of formal education in the field of film making before being allowed to produce a film, even if it is home video. However, the level of qualification allowed may be dependent on the movie association and what it requires from its members.

Did you stray as well?
Yes, but I thank God, I now know the way and that is why I do not wish to produce concurrently or rather follow the trend because that is what I met on ground. In my vivid assessment of this industry, if I need to be sincere to myself and Nigerians, I strayed, though I am justified because that was what I met on ground.

Is this why most movie stars are suffering in penury?
Why won't we suffer? Majority of us are sincere with our passion for this industry and we are only made to suffer for the sins of other people. The spineless get exploited. Not long ago, one of us was caught doing a wrong thing and some Nigerians almost asked for her head. For Christ sake, these same people are the ones that ruined her life.

They will sit in a corner, pirate the works she did with her money, sweat and without financial assistance from anybody, yet they wanted her to rot in jail. I am not saying what she did is good, after all, she has learnt her lessons. But how many Nigerians have been taught same lessons; not to pirate or hold pirated jobs which contain other people's intellectual property? Nigerians sometimes beat up a rightful owner of a film even when he or she catches them with pirated copies of his or her works. This is madness.

Will change in format of camera improve bad storyline?
No producer will use his money to acquire such a camera and end up shooting substandard storyline. Besides, actors should henceforth be banned or prevented from delving into movie production because they are popular, except they have the same required level of education, screening in film making/ producing, let alone directing because they are also one of the problems affecting the industry. But I think the movie associations can deal decisively with that



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