Friday, May 14, 2021

Nigerian animators confront challenges of funding in a depressed economy


Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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Over the years, the Nigerian animation industry has been clamouring for support from benevolent individuals, corporate bodies and the government. But such pleas have always received little of no attention as most people see animation as a waste of time and resources. This negligent attitude has hindered the growth of the industry to its expected height. However, the support issue would soon be history as USP Consultant, a brand management company organised a workshop last Thursday. It was the second Lagos International Festival of Animation (LIFANIMA) held at Freedom Park, Lagos.

The workshop had as theme ‘Funding Your Animation Film’ and was aimed at exposing animators to various means of sourcing for funds or grants. It also served as an avenue to showcase works of nominees in the various award categories. It had in attendance guest of honour, Mr. Dele Balogun, who represented Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Art and Culture, Mr. Steve Ayorinde, renowned Nollywood producer, Mr. Francis Onwochei, Director, CEO USP Brand Management and Festival Director, Mr. Muyiwa Kayode, local and foreign animators, filmmakers, investors, government agencies, digital marketing professionals, financial institutions, manufacturers and the general public.

The objectives of the animation festival include promoting the rapid development of animation industry in Nigeria and across Africa, improving the movie industry through increased inclusion of animation content, providing a platform for the promotion of local animators and development of the quality of animation and to expose animators to the latest technologies in animation hardware and software.

While welcoming guests, Kayode said the workshop was held in order to bring notable individuals of the various sectors of the Nigerian society to deliberate on how to help animators get the required funding to actualise their animation projects.

“In this year’s festival, we are going to be discussing the subject of funding, which is the major challenge being faced by animators. Most of us have projects in the pipeline but the required funds just don’t seem to be available to actualise these projects. We believe this year, we will achieve a stronger synergy between the animators here present and other stakeholders in the industry.”

Kayode also urged upcoming animators to collaborate with experienced colleagues so as to improve their creativity and pleaded with Lagos State Government to set up grants for the arts industry in order to ease the funding process.

Similar, Onwochei, who was the guest speaker, reiterated the need for the art and entertainment sub-sector of the creative industry to create a foundation where practitioners could have easy access to loans and grants rather than depending on the government for support.

According to him, “If our art and entertainment industries were strong as they ought to be, we would have pushed for the creation of an entertainment foundation that would give grants or loans to creative minds in the different regions of our country, who are in need of funds to complete their works. This will go a long way in easing the overdependence on government for support because government alone cannot cater for all of us. So, we need to give ourselves the support we need.”

Onwochei, who said he has over 200 movies to his credit, also tasked the animators to obtain university degrees and not just depend solely on their talents. He also highlighted the need for them to write proposals to different financial institutions and other corporate bodies for support.

“My advice for you all is to get university education in other professions so you can have a backup plan, when things are not rosy,” he said. “It is, however, sad that people in the creative industry are very reluctant in writing proposals for funds, which is the major challenge in sourcing for fund. We should not be lazy to meet with the requirements of the grant and I assure you that you can get all the funds you want if you follow the required process.”

Balogun, on his part, pledged support of Lagos State Government for the art industry as he commended the creativity of animators in providing entertainment for the masses, adding, “I am very proud of what Nigerian animators are doing towards providing us entertainment. It shows that we have lots of talented individuals in our entertainment industry. I want to therefore assure that Lagos State Government is committed to uplifting the standards of animators in the country. We will establish avenues where you all can apply for financial grants and I implore you all to make the best use of these future opportunities because sourcing for grants is a serious business, which every art practitioner should take seriously.”

On the entertainment side, some animation works were shown among which were Chicken Core: The Rise of Kings by Shina Ajulo, Floyd Mayweather Fight Nigeria Guy Kojo by Ajani Damilola, Water Wahala by Brian Wilson, Five Letter Love by Tunde Oluwa, Tejumade by Adebimpe Adebambo, among others.

Entries for the animation award included Floyd Mayweather Fight Nigeria Guy Kojo by Ajani Damilola, Tejumade by Adebimpe Adebambo and Chicken Core – The Rise of Kings by Shina Ajulo in Best 2D. In Best 3D category were Alajah by Isaac Busari, Cocktail Explosive by Peter Reezer and Guardians by Nnabuchi Joshua. Best Anomation Commercial had Food Trolley by Tayo Fasunon, Adaba and Mr. Chef by Adeosun Olumide as entries while Kachie Music Video by Adeosun Olumide, Five Letter Love by Tunde Oluwa and Water Wahala by Brian Wilson were entries for Best Special Effects category.

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