Cinema and national development: an assessment

Highlighting some effects of the film industry on national development using different markers, what immediately comes to mind is culture. As they say, “Culture is the way of life” Cinema has played a major role in preserving our culture.

Many ideologies and cultural heritages could have been eroded, but thanks to cinema, they are still there and we still know them. (well, that could quickly become wrong with modern films that serve little purpose as historical or cultural records).

Films should help preserve our past so that we can illuminate our future. Despite the fact that movies help preserve our culture, many movies released today have harmed its portrayal of our cultural origin.

Looking at the type of films produced and categorized as “Asaba films”, where there are many cultural misrepresentations in costumes and general characterization. Some films portray our culture as backward, losing track of strong thematic and socio-religious structures in the way of life evident before the arrival of the white man.

Our tongues in culture have been heavily downplayed. English has taken over most of television and some platforms like IrokoTv, IbakaTv and distribution channels like cinemas are segregating and creating a barrier to language films on their platforms.

The industry has contributed greatly to the economic development of the nation. At a 2017 screening of Kunle Afolayan’s CEO at the headquarters of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Ambassador Audu KadiriNigeria’s permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) has said that Nollywood is becoming a very powerful tool for “soft” diplomacy for Nigeria.

The Ambassador also highlighted the role of Nollywood in employing a large number of creative workers in the downstream sector of distribution and marketing, contributing about 1.4% to Nigeria’s GDP, providing also valuable content to support other interrelated copyright sectors such as broadcasting, telecommunications and advertising.

Moreover, the film industry is a large employer of labor in any economy. Cinema, like any other aspect of the arts, is a pot of all the arts because it combines painting, costumes, writing; prose, drama, poetry, short story, acting, directing, production, photography, tourism and so on in one big production.

Filmmaking is a large art form that requires the involvement and participation of many people who are often employed as actors, costumers, cameramen, producers, singers, and aesthetic workers.

More so, cinema plays an important role in education and human resource development. Audiovisual media are now an important part of teaching and the dissemination of knowledge.

In addition, the documentary film helps to enlighten the public on the events and phenomena of the environment. “Having become the second largest film industry in the world, most viewers are of the opinion that Nollywood films would have passed a certain level of immorality and barbarism which could be considered moderately above all else.

They sink daily into immorality which pollutes the minds of young audiences who are the great viewers”. – Ruth Chuji

In conclusion, we can say that the film industry has contributed to the development of Nigeria and has also harmed it.

About Herbert L. Leonard

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