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By Karen James.
The Actors Guild of Nigeria, Onitsha Zone has marked its 17th anniversary.
The event was staged at the Royal Paradise Hotel, Obosi.
According to Mrs Chinyelu Anyaegbunam, the Coordinator of the zone in a welcome address, noted that Anambra State Chapter was split into seven zones – Onitsha — Idemili North, Idemili South, Onitsha North, Onitsha South and Ogbaru LGAs.
“Onitsha zone stands out distinctively among the other zones in Anambra State, owing to the fact that from inception, it has produced many faces in the Nollywood movies, because it is also instrumental to the creation of other zones.
“The zone has grown and has achieved great milestones. It is pertinent to note that a lot of challenges are facing the zone because of increased social media usage; our members are left without jobs as many non-professionals have taken over the industry.
“We plead with the state Government and the public-spirited individuals to help us with sufficient funding to enable us to produce our zonal films.
“It is our desire to create jobs for our members by producing films in the zone and to also organise training, workshops and seminars in various departments.
“About N10 million will salvage the situation; we need vehicles for proper coordination of the activities of the zone and to help us to check the influx of non-professional film makers into the state.
“We have no structure as an office and this has made the zone to move from one place to another. Payment of the rented office has been eating deep into our pocket annually, chucking up to N400, 000.’’
She said in an interview that the training and seminars would aim at educating the upcoming ones to be professionals; “they don’t know what it is to be a filmmaker. I want to inculcate the art of professionalism in them through training and symposiums.
“The Censors’ Board of Nigeria is helping us to fight piracy as a lot of guild members are out to fight this. We have a producers’ Guild and if you are not in that guild, you will not be a producer. There is a designers’ Guild too.
“If you are not a member of these sub bodies, the Censors’ Board is letting them cut corners as they will be branded pirates,’’ she stressed.
The Treasurer of Onitsha Zone, Mr Christopher Okwudili Ezeolisa they had been fighting piracy the best they could, but it was not abating.
“Since we have been raising awareness some have been thinking we are joking; this is adversely affecting the marketers, the producers and the actors. I believe our National President in Abuja is also working tirelessly on this too.
“The era of U-tube and social media has been making this job much easier for some people but we, behind the cameras or acting, know that it is not supposed to be so, they are making the most of the money, more than the actors.
A philanthropist, Mr Okechukwu Obi, the Managing Director, Royal Paradise Hotel, pledged to provide an office for them within the facility.
Bishop Onyeka Nzekwesi, a Clergy of Jesus Alive Ministry, Eziowelle, in an interview said that he opened up a film industry to help the Youths to engage them, keep them busy.
“They are trained, based on their talent and after training, they have no nobody trying to get something off me is my passion.
“From February to now, more than 20 films have been churned out, we are still sending it out one after the other and some are still with the editor, while some are in the archives.
Igwe Chidubem Iweka 111 of Obosi was represented by one of the Cabinet members, Agwuegbo Osita. Popular actor, Amechi Muonago also attended.