It is hard to understand what the motives of the Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board are in its interactions with Nollywood, the country’s film and television industry. At some points, the NFVCB seems very supportive of the industry, creating initiatives like this one to help filmmakers finance their projects. Then they turn around and try to censor the industry by instituting draconian laws that do not take into consideration the realities of the industry which sources its funding and how much it has already invested in collaborations with foreign parties, all without consulting the members of the industry who actually create projects and have built the industry with almost no support. Then of course, there is the occasional scapegoating of filmmakers and projects that dare to push beyond the limited and short minded expectations the NFVCB imposes on the industry.
‘Ife‘, the new project from The Equality Hub, run by filmmaker and activist Pamela Adie, who released her debut film project, a documentary about her life called ‘Under The Rainbow’ has come under the radar of the board. While the entire project hasn’t been released, it teases a romantic relationship between two women and that is enough to get the sharks in the water. According to reports from Premium times, the NFVCB through its executive director, Adedayo thomas has said “it knows what to do” if the producers of a soon-to-be-released LGBTQ movie, ‘Ife,’ do not present it for censorship.
Already, the team behind the film have already informed audiences that they would be releasing the project on their native streaming platform, which is out of the censorial jurisdiction of the NFVCB, so their insistence that the project must be submitted for censorship, is myopic. The reality is, the Nigerian film industry will eventually grow beyond the myopic limitations of its censors, and that growth can either happen here in Nigeria, or it can happen outside Nigeria, investing the revenue in more progressive countries and exported back to us. The choice is ours.