Nollywood stars sparkle in Netflix’s Lights, Camera…Naija
What comes to mind next after hearing, “Lights, Camera?” It should be Action, but now, it’s “Naija” because the Nigerian movie industry is on the move. Thanks to the dedication of actors, contributions, and investment of streaming platforms like Netflix and stakeholders who have been matching words with actions.
Recognising these efforts and dedication, Netflix, last weekend, hosted movie stars to an evening of merriment tagged, “Lights, Camera…Naija,” at The Monarch, Lekki, Lagos.
With a colourfully and trendily Nigerian theme, Netflix spotlighted the country’s brilliant creative talents, who alongside industry guests, wined and dined in appreciation of their immense contribution to the industry’s phenomenal strides in the continent and beyond.
Hosted by legendary comedian and entertainer, Basketmouth, the event featured captivating performances by the soulful, rave-making Chike, and the Nigerian Queen of Afro-House, Niniola, with even more music provided by Superstar DJ Sose.
Since it arrived in the Nigerian market four years ago, Netflix has prioritised the development of creative talent on and off the screen and has also partnered with various leading creatives and organisations to roll out skills development and capacity-building initiatives aimed at strengthening the capacity of the next generation of Nigerian storytellers.
Netflix’s Lights, Camera…Naija honoured the pioneers and trailblazers who paved the way for the industry’s growth, whilst recognising the outstanding contributions of current talents who continue to captivate global audiences with compelling storytelling.
Speaking at the event, Bolanle Austen-Peters, said: “We are working and hoping that we get things better. What Netflix is doing now is commendable. This is a welcome development and I hope this continues. National and international cooperation in movie-making has to be accelerated and encouraged, So, I am excited about this. The industry is growing and we are on the right track.
On his part, Gabriel Afolayan, said: “It’s a good feeling when you are being appreciated for your art. One thing is to put in the work, another thing is to be celebrated for it; Netflix has come of age with Nollywood, and I am happy to be part of what they are doing.
“Netflix is our bedrock; they are the first on the block, rocking with us for years so, I give it to them,” he concluded.
“I feel as black people, we just want to criticise and because you think everybody must celebrate you, you want to stand out with your criticism; I feel it will be nice if we celebrate everything about us,” said Nancy Isime.
Femi Adebayo said: “I see this as an acknowledgment of the good work of the creative industry. Netflix is acknowledging that we have worked so hard to be recognised and celebrated.
“Things have improved, but I know that we can do better. So, for streaming platforms, I appeal that they should try to encourage us more, as much as the Nigerian economy is not as friendly as it should be, we are appealing to the streaming platforms to be more friendly in terms of figure, we have been doing it with passion before their arrival, and this is the time our passion should turn to something good for us.”
When asked about the place of Jagunjagun in Yoruba history, he said: “Jagunjagun is fiction and it’s not history. It’s a film that I put together to pass a social message culturally, and also show the beauty of Yoruba culture.
“Netflix has been fantastic to my career, not just to my career, but also to me as a person. Netflix loves me, and they show it; they take care of me, they fly and me out from time to time.”
When asked about the lack of Hausa-speaking movies on the streaming platform, Ali Nuhu said: “This is something that has been bothering everyone in the industry. I spoke with some of my colleagues in the South, and in the North about this. We have contents in the North, but the aggregators that usually take the movies to Netflix are not reaching out. I submitted my movie in the past and I waited for over eight months in 2021 with no response and, when the aggregator got back, there wasn’t a positive response from them. So, this is one of the things affecting Hausa movies, and that is why we don’t see them on the platform, but we are working on that now. I am shooting a purely Hausa movie at the moment for the platform.
Bucci Franklin in his remarks said: “Netflix is a big plus to the Nigerian movie industry, it has helped move the industry forward. Other platforms are coming on board because Netflix has set the pace. The advent of Netflix in Nigeria has done well for us, the stars are shining because of our language, culture, and the differences that we have formed into films. Netflix has done a lot for me and my colleagues.
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