Last week, Lagos State Government announced to newsmen that it would be the city of focus at the world class Toronto International Film Festival scheduled to be held in Canada from September 8 through 18, 2016.
Speaking at a press conference held at Alausa Secretariat, Ikeja, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Steve Ayorinde said the partnership was the first to happen in any city in Africa, adding, “Lagos State Government is ready to support any initiative that would further establish it as the home of film in Nigeria. Lagos is the home of new Nigerian cinema”.
Ayorinde expressed satisfaction that the partnership was coming one month after the unveiling of Lagos@50 Project and also two weeks after Lagos was celebrated in Brussels’s art exhibition. According to him, “We see this as good news for the state, as plans are already on ground to build world class museums for tourism in the state. I am really happy to say that Lagos State would be fully involved in the festival.
“The state would also ensure visas for those participating in the festival, and the governor would be very happy to dispose all within his ability to see the festival through”.
Commissioner for Tourism, Art and Culture, Mr. Folorunsho Folarin Coker said the partnership falls within governor Ambode’s belief that entertainment could be used to boost the revenue base of the state, noting, “To make it an environment that would attract communities to come and exhibit, Lagos is number two in the world for film production”.
He said there was need to have film studios of international standards, calling on investors to key into that. He revealed that the Federal government and Lagos state have plans to build a new museum for contemporary art.
The artistic director of Toronto Film Festival, Cameron Bailey, said Toronto and Lagos state share a special bond, and Toronto was a huge fan of films. He said the yearly festival always attracts thousands of people across the globe. “We don’t get enough of Lagos, and that is why we are here, this is an opportunity for us to do more and a spotlight on Lagos filmmakers, and having in mind that these stories portray the image of Nigeria to the world” he noted.
Bailey urged that there was need to integrate National film institutes. “We would screen eight films during the festival,” he said.
Also present at the conference were, the programmer, Toronto Film Festival, Mr. Keith Shiri, Chief Executive Office, New Nigeria Cinema limited, Wale Ojo, Ayo Shonaiya, film maker, Publisher, AN24 News, Gboyega Akosile, among others.