Nollywood needs unbiased platform for practitioners to thrive — Etete

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Elizabeth Etete, CEO and Managing Director of Innovative Creative Experts Distribution (ICED).

An entrepreneur, Elizabeth Etete, says that Nollywood needs an unbiased platform where producers, filmmakers and artistes could thrive without let or hindrance from established societal norms.

Etete, who is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director, Innovative Creative Experts Distribution (ICED), told the Newsmen on Friday in Lagos that such a platform would expand the horizon of Nollywood.

“The challenges we are facing in Nollywood today, specifically, is that there isn’t an unbiased platform where producers, filmmakers and artistes basically can be themselves and where they are not judged, their content not judged.

“Where they are free to be creative as they want and of course, follow the national and international censor guidelines, but other than that, they should be able to have that platform to do as they want,’’ she said.

In the area of latitude to the necessary investment tools for the industry and perception, she told Newsmen that Nollywood is still scratching the surface.

“In terms of infrastructure and investment, we don’t have the equipment; we don’t have the studio or green screen or the expertise, what it takes to compete on an international level.

“Another challenge we are facing is the common perception and image of Nollywood, I mean everybody thinks that if you’re an actor or actress that you’re a prostitute and that all producers or filmmakers are pimps.

“That’s not true, and we need to make an active and collective effort to change this imagery, to change what the world views and what we ourselves in the movie industry here in Nigeria and in Africa generally are.

“I will also want to address sexual abuse, sexual harassment because as we have seen globally that it’s a huge, huge, problem and it’s definitely something that ICED will address in everything that we touch and do.

“How are we going to go about solving these channels, you know I think the fact that ICED is created, operated and run on principles, principle-based is key.

“Without principles you are not going to solve basic problems, everyone on board has to understand the value of human beings, the value of human labour.

“We have to protect these talents, we have to nourish them, we want to make sure that people understand that apart from the amount of money that one can make, art is something to be cherished, something to be cultivated, and something to be respected and so, ICED is based on these things.

“And we have these values and we have this vision, and we have this care to our community and to everyone we touch, we want to make sure that we don’t use, we don’t abuse but that we nourish, elevate and we respect and we grow.

“You know it’s not just about making money, definitely everyone involved will understand that there’s a different and better way of making money, and yea…

“It’s going to take time and a lot of understanding and a lot of media to say the right things and broadcast the right things and use the right words but I think collectively we have a role to play and we can do it,’’ she said.

Etete stressed that ICED seeks to address the salient issues that were stunting the growth of Nigeria’s entertainment industry as a whole.

“ICED is a Nigerian-based company with flair of European management, partnered with an American Company owned by Leon Youngblood (Snr.), whose viewer reach is worldwide.

“We have created a platform for independent filmmakers and producers from all over the world to air their work.

“Our staff is made up of passionate professionals, young and innovative characters who are reshaping the distribution network in Africa and eventually all over the world.

“We offer a viewer platform of over 1.2 billion worldwide. ICED was created because of the demand for independent filmmakers to get their work on global platform.

“We have picked up several producers and investors that see the future of the movie industry in Africa.

“ICED has caught the attention of the U.S. entertainment industry, causing a wave of excitement. We are opening the doors for future work relationships and investments in the industry,’’ the entrepreneur said.

Etete, who is of Nigerian and Swiss parentage, and has a background in Business and Space Engineering, told Newsmen that ICED, is also proficient in movie production.

“Other than distribution, ICED is into production both locally and internationally.

“We are also going to focus on human resource development as well as open the doors and channels for investors to come in so that we can upgrade infrastructure and make it possible for us to compete at the international level,’’ she added.

The Bayelsa-born Etete said that her organisation intended to spread its reach across the world in due course.

“ICED reaches out to every country in Africa and is in partnership with Leon Youngblood (Snr.), our global reach spans across the following countries: Finland, China, U.S., Africa, Australia, Dubai, London, South Africa and the Latin America.

“It’s around 120 counties all over the world, and we can target anywhere except communist countries that block internet access,’’ Etete added.