The Lagos State Government has said that the state’s tourism and entertainment potential would be showcased at the 2016 Edition of Toronto International Film Festival.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Steve Ayorinde said this at a news conference in Ikeja.
He addressed newsmen alongside his counterpart in Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr Folorunsho Folarin-Coker, and the Artistic Director, Toronto Film Festival, Mr Cameron Bailey.
Ayorinde said that eight films produced in the state would be selected to feature at the festival.
He said that the development would help project the tourism potential of the state to the audience at the festival.
According to him, the move is in line with Gov. Akinwumi Ambode’s campaign promise to make the state a hub for tourism.
He said the eight films to be selected do not necessarily have to be about Lagos, but would be films produced by directors based in the state.
``What is important is that the films that will be selected will be films by film makers that are Lagos-based.
``It won’t matter what subject matter you are dealing with; it is about the creativity, the talent you are exhibiting as a Lagos-based film maker that Toronto is interested in,’’ he said.
Ayorinde said the State Government would be fully involved in any collaboration to celebrate the city, market its potential, as well as appreciate the talent of the motion industry.
``What this government policy implies is that the government will promote any initiative that will project Lagos as the home of film making not only in Nigeria, but before the entire world,” Ayorinde said.
Folarin-Coker, on his part, said the move was in line with government’s policy that entertainment could be used to create employment and improve the revenue generation of the state.
He said that the long term plan of the government was to take back "dead" public spaces such as under the bridges across the state and develop them for residents to exhibit and develop their talents.
Folarin-Coker said that the state was collaborating with the Federal Government to build a car park at the new museum to help drive tourism.
Also, Cameron said that the drive behind the Lagos and Toronto spotlight for the festival was because much of the films Lagos produced were not being showcased in Toronto.
He explained that the idea was to seize the opportunity of this year’s festival to begin a new dawn for Nigerian films.
``We have had films like Tunde Kelani’s Abeni feature at the festival, as well as Half of a Yellow Sun, which is a collaboration between Nigeria and the UK, but I think this is an opportunity to do more and to go bigger.
``So, what we are doing this year is a spotlight on the film makers who live and work here in Lagos.
``We have been so impressed with the ingenuity and creativity of individual film makers who have made the Nigeria film industry one of the largest in the planet,’’ Cameron said.
He said that Lagos, like Los Angeles, Paris and Mumbai, was one of the big capitals of film around the world.
Cameron said that films produced in Nollywood had spread all over the world, noting that though the Nigeria film business had gone global, the next step was to fully integrate it into the international film industry.
``The films that are bought and sold at our Festival, the films that are written about and reported on by the critics and film journalists, the audiences that embrace the films that go on to win the big prizes like the Oscars, those films should include the films from Nigeria," Cameron said.