For Supporting Creative Minds, British Council Rewards BoI
IN appreciation of its role in helping creative minds realise their dreams, the British Council has named Bank of Industry (BoI) as the highest supporter of the creative industry in Nigeria. The U.K agency, during the fourth edition of its annual Creative Industry Awards, honoured stakeholders in the media, entertainment, fashion and business sectors in 21 categories.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Managing Director of the bank, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, the Group Head, Creative Desk at BoI, Mrs. Uche Nwuka, thanked British Council for identifying with the creative sector and encouraging stakeholders through the reward system.
Nwuka who disclosed that BoI has been working with some organisations, especially the British Council, in the areas of capacity training of stakeholders, noted that the company had supported about eight different projects by giving them loans without collaterals.
“We supported this project without any collateral and we are happy to say that the project performed very well. This kind of contribution was also reviewed by the British Council,” Nwuka said.
She cited Filhouse Cinemas, G-Media distribution outfit, Silverbird Cinema, Ozone Cinema, Viva Cinema, Flower Girl and Half of a Yellow Sun as some of the projects the bank has supported.
It will be recalled that distribution and exhibition framework has been identified as the major problem of the film industry; this challenge, BoI is also helping to assuage, through its support for G-Media, a distribution run by notable film marketer, Igwe Gabriel Okoye, with online and physical structures across the six geo-political zones of the country.
Meanwhile, BoI’s Divisional Director, Large Enterprises, Mr. Joseph Babatunde, has said that the bank’s experience in financing the entertainment industry has been positive, although mixed in some instances.
He said the funding of cinema projects has been particularly successful, as operators of such projects who took loans from the bank are not defaulting. He was particularly full of praise for Filmhouse, a company established a few years ago by Mr. Kene Mkparu, which he said has been consistent in repaying his loans.
“We introduced the idea of a collection account together with a commercial bank, so that in FilmHouse’s ticketing arrangement, the money coming in was being domiciled in that account. As they put the money in there, at the end of every month, we got money directly from the bank,” he said.
He however disclosed that support for the production of Flower Girl and Half of a Yellow Sun has not yielded smooth returns as in the case of the cinema operators.
“Managing film is not as easy as managing cinemas. For the cinema, you can easily enter into collection accounts serviced through ticketing. But for the films, it is different. It depends on the marketing and distribution arrangement in place. And as you know, piracy also makes it difficult.
“So, I would say we used the two films to be able to acquire experience. Not that they are not paying, but we have had some issues that slowed down the process. For instance, Half of a Yellow Sun had issues with the Censors Board when its producers first sought approval. For films, timing is very critical. To avert this in the future, we will be close to the Censors Board right from time of implementation.”
Themed “Innovation and Creativity”, other entertainers who won laurels at the 2015 ceremony include Don Jazzy, Ayo Makun (AY), BellaNaija, EbonyLife TV and DJ Xclusive and others. The event was spiced with perfromances by Isaac Geralds, Cone ‘Aduke’, Baseline Records’ Afro-Soul Diva Aramide, Capital FEMI, and Jaywon.
The Creative Industries Awards is aimed at rewarding Initiatives, Talent, Creativity and Entrepreneurship across the creative industries, recognizes the central role they play in the development of a competitive and sustainable creative economy.