By G9ija

The second in a series of workshops planned for 2019, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), at the weekend, held a three-day training on “The Essence of Classification In Film Production”.

The train-the-trainer event which held from January 11-13, 2019, at the Peridot Hotel and Suites, Amuwo-Odofin, Lagos, had participants from the 56 Local Government Areas of Lagos State, who are expected to impact their various constituencies subsequently.

Considering the strategic roles played by women in the home, the training was also in celebration of this year’s Women in the Business of Film Production Week, with Nollywood veteran actress and youth advocate, Hilda Dokubo, as Keynote Speaker.

Other facilitators include, Relationship Coach, Zeezee Okuneye (Mentorship); filmmaker Niji Akanni (How to Read Nigerian Films); Cecilia Abiola Odusanya (Role of Women in Filmmaking); Professor Tunji Azeez (Art of story-telling in nation branding); Keppy Ekpeyong Bassey (Essence of Classification); and Fred Amata (Film as Catalyst for National Growth).

In his opening remarks, Executive Director, NFVCB, Alhaji Adedayo Thomas noted that the essence of the training was; to develop participants’ interest and understanding of classification; make participants ambassadors of film classification by letting their children know what to watch and watch not to watch; assist in lobbying policy makers on important classification recommendations; and make them ambassadors of the NFVCB generally.

“Constitutionally, we are all police in this regard, but this conference is expected to give you a sense of belonging and enhance your drive towards ensuring that classification guides are adhered to. On a lighter note, this is also a forum for interaction. The training has been designed in a lighter and interactive way. I assure you that, you are going to have fun while at it,” said Thomas.

Dokubo, who started off with the evolution of Nollywood as a home video industry, said she was usually delighted when called upon to talk about the Nigerian motion picture industry.

She noted that Nollywood came to fill a gap, “Because we produce for home, and in building the content, we put the family in mind. So, Nollywood should be seen from the angle of content and not necessarily because it started on VHS format.”

She enumerated all the categories of classification, explaining the need to adhere strictly to the rules. “If there is a breach of classification rule, there is a problem. The problem is however not for the filmmaker but for the person that allowed the breach, because classification plays the role of informing, plays the role of healing and places responsibility on everyone, including the producer and adults.”

In view of the prevalent claims of sexual abuse, assault and harassment, she advocated for classification rules that are gender sensitive.

“Because today, we celebrate women in the business of film production, it is important to look at the cases of abuse and sexual harassment of females, and consider classifications that are gender sensitive. I feel strongly that, if indeed classification protects, then we should use it to protect,” she said.

According to Dokubo, classification should be all encompassing, thus, she asked: “Why would people avoid going to the NFVCB for censorship if they know it would protect their works and their viewers? Because it has not been all encompassing. It has left out some people. Why don’t we do our bit to protect everyone? Classification is not static just like everything in the world. We know about PG, 18 etcetera. How about RC (Restricted Classification)? When a movie is completely out of order, let us say it is out of order. We can try to be like Hollywood only in technicality and not in content.

“We cannot create standards if we do not classify our movies. We should also classify TV contents because some of the things on TV don’t make sense, and censoring them when they are on air will only raise the sensitive glands of young people,” she said.

The event was also attended by Directors at NFVCB, Fatimah Hajju Abdulkadir and Alonge-Oyadiran, staff members of the agency, and personalities from the creative industry such as Fuji musician, Alhaji Sefiu Alao; film marketer Gabriel Okoye, aka Igwe Gabosky; President of Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Mr. Ralph Nwadike among others.

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