Erudite theatre and gender studies scholar, Professor Irene Salami-Agunloye of the University of Jos, Jos, Plateau State, has said that the Nigerian movie industry, popularly called, Nollywood, has remained a male-dominated affair, and that most of the stories in the movie industry are being told from men’s point of view.
Professor Salami-Agunloye stated this as keynote speaker, in a paper, entitled, “Nollywood’s Glass-ceiling: Envisioning a new Paradigm for Repositioning Women in Nigeria’s Movie Industry,” which she presented at the new Senate Building of the University of Calabar, at the premier edition of the Calabar International Conference of Theatre and Media Studies, with the theme: “Theatre and Media Studies in the Third Millennium,” hosted by the Department of Theatre and Media Studies, which held from 24-27 September, 2015.
She maintained that no Nollywood movie introduces women with any meaningful strength as there are always active male and passive female roles, averring that most lead roles like the President, Senate President and so on, are made male roles, and only subjecting women as whores, prostitutes and husband snatchers, or roles where they suffer and are harassed.
Making a case for gender balance in the Nigerian movie industry, Professor Salami-Agunloye urged producers to carve out a media style that is beneficial to all by writing scripts that would address this unmitigated imbalance.
Also in his lead paper, entitled, “From Parts Syndrome to Seasons Syndrome in Nollywood: The Bandwagon Approach and Mercantilism in Focus,” the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) and Visiting Associate Professor at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, focused on the anomalous use of parts and seasons in Nollywood film productions.
On the parts syndrome, Prof. Ayakoroma cited Igodo, which, he said, was tightly and commendably edited as a stand-alone film, as against Egg of Life, which, in his analysis, was ‘elasticised’ into two parts, saying the trend shows that professionalism was being sacrificed on the altar of mercantilism.
According to Ayakoroma, this was not as bad as some films where the producers intend to make a one-part movie and later decide to elasticise the movie into many parts; or a producer who actually knows that a film would be produced in many parts but give the actors the impression that the film was a stand-alone film, only for the actors to see the film come out in many parts.
He decried the trending situation, where one does not know the first part of a film of say, four parts or seasons, until one has watched all of them; and called on the regulatory agency, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) to live up to its mandate by stemming the obnoxious trend.
The second lead paper, entitled, “Between Experiential Testimonial Creativity; whither the Creative Conscience of the Playwright,” which was presented by Professor Emmy Idegu of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, basically posited that writers write from the experiences they garner from the happenings in their environment.
Professor Idegu called the theory, the Experiential Testimonial Creativity (ETC) theory, and he went on to aver that the theory explains the reason why repression engenders creative work, making writers write with more bite.
Presentation of papers by scholars who attended the conference followed from Friday, 25 September, and continued on Saturday, 26 September; just as activities came to a close on Sunday, 27 September, 2015.
Law Ikay Ezeh Jr.
SA to the Executive Secretary
NICO HQ, Abuja