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Nigeria: IWIF Seeks Safe Space for Women in Nollywood - Zulumoke Oyibo

  After three consecutive meetings, the Inkblot Women In Film (IWIF) held its fourth edition, hosting both new and recurring attendees on May 6, 2021 in Lagos State.

The intimately designed event was graced by Actor, Kehinde Bankole; Actor, Producer & Host, Eku Edewor; Lawyer, Bukki Olabiyi; Producer, Abimbola Craig, Post Producer, Patience Lawal; Producer, Matilda Ogunleye; Production Designer, Jennifer Anti; Managing Partner, GLG Communications, Omawumi Ogbe; with Zulumoke Oyibio- co-founder, Inkblot Productions & Convener IWIF.

At the event, IWIF did not fail to further enumerate issues faced by cast and crew members in Nollywood. The safe space allowed women in the Nigerian Film industry to express their deepest concerns and challenges along with suggested solutions to be implemented.

One key challenge mentioned was that the industry is unstructured. With the industry being unstructured, finances and matters related to funds are many times, undocumented. Lack of information makes it difficult for investors who may be willing to invest in film productions to take action. "It's hard for investors to fund the Nigerian film industry because there is no structure. Oftentimes, investors do not have data and cannot see the numbers to tell if it will be a viable investment' Says Zulumoke Oyibo, convener of IWIF & co-founder, Inkblot Productions.

It was suggested that the standardization of the industry, although daunting, will be a good solution. They noted that there isn't a standard amount a production member earns on a movie, therefore, things look like they are in shambles. Even Information provided on the internet is not usually updated. "A lack of transparency is a big issue in the Nigerian film industry unlike Hollywood for example where the film's budget is published and how much the movie makes is also published for all to see, and stakeholders can tell if a movie is successful or not. Talent's fees are also known for the most part" Actor and Producer, Eku Edewor said.

The unstable economy in Nigeria was also identified to be a huge source of Nollywood's lack of structure. "To make projections in Nigeria is hard because there is no structure and the economy is unstable. If there is a structure, there'd be accountability. People would be mandated to present figures and be transparent", Actor, Kehinde Bankole stated. "The first solution to the major challenges being first in the industry is access to information. There should be a ready place where people can get information and be educated about the goings-on of the industry and the various resources available to filmmakers and actors", she then proposed.

Still on the industry being unstructured, Zulumoke stated, "When an industry is unstructured, it is hard for women to tap into its resources. Many young actors would come in and wonder 'where is the hope for me coming into this industry?". Unlike the music industry where artists can propel into being 'stars' within a short period, Nollywood actors are barely labelled stars unless they have been putting in so much hard work for years. "There isn't a value system on how well an actor can work. We don't have an infrastructure" Eku Edewor echoed.

The matter of insurance was also brought to light. "Insurance is such a big deal. There is such a huge need for it." Lack of insurance was highlighted as one of the reasons why actors seek financial help in times of crisis, even when the cause of the crisis is a work-related hazard.

The IWIF which is still in its research stage, was inspired by how young Nigerians have been standing up for themselves and demanding change in recent times. "During the protests, I saw how the women worked together. It was a no brainer for them to arrange food for the protesters or organize buses to transport people in different areas of the country. I thought that was remarkable. I then thought that there are a lot of women in film as well who are affected by different things separate from men and I felt like if we came together and thought of these things as a whole, we'd be able to think of efficient means to nurture our industry," Zulumoke shared.

It was revealed that the initiative is set on taking actionable steps to expand its impact including some events that will be announced in due course.


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