Movie Making in Conflict Zones of Nigeria: The Jos Experience

Movie Making in Conflict Zones of Nigeria: The Jos Experience

Edward Ossai (Plateau State University, Nigeria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5987-0.ch005

Abstract

Filmmaking in Nigeria has no doubt attracted so much attention worldwide and the industry has become a major employer of labor and a source of national revenue. It has also given birth to regional language and ethnic film industries, including Kannywood and Yoruwood. These industries have become a voice for the voiceless, a medium to express cultures, values, and socio-political issues. However, the process of movie making in Nigerian conflict areas has been marred by seemingly sustained ethno-religious conflicts and attacks by insurgents in major film release points like Jos, Lagos, Kano, Kaduna, Aba, Onitsha, and Abuja. This discourse is informed by the need to interrogate how conflicts are detrimental to collective development of the Nigerian state and the film industry in particular. The Jos experience has generated concerns in the industry, hence the need to highlight reason(s) for the drop in film production on the plateau.
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Introduction

The art of movie making in Nigeria has improved the quality of Nigerian movies and added value to the entertainment industry generally, thereby reducing the craving for foreign movies. The film medium has intervened in shaping the society in all ramifications. This is in addition to opening windows of opportunities for the screenplay writer, director, cinematographer, camera operator, editor, set designers and all other craft men involved in the business of movie making. These professionals can make the audience believe every picture and sound portrayed in the movie, principally because movies have the capacity to transport audience into many worlds at the same time.

Movie making requires discipline, concentration, a good dose of creativity and patience. It is better to make movies in enabling environments for effective and efficient performance and output. Principally speaking, movie making requires that the movie maker creates his story, hires his crew and cast, scouts for location, dress the set, source, gather and test equipment, make the movie, edit, add sound effects and music, create the title and credits sequences, export the movie to any format and release. However, the security of the crew, cast and equipment are paramount. The location, crew and cast are considered very crucial in making movies in conflict zones. Locations generally refer to the acting arena, which could be an office, room, toilet, football field, Forest and so on. These locations could be used at night or during the day and the locations are determined by the script.

In addition to the space required for the film shoot, the source of light (windows, doors or electricity] is also important since it determines the colour quality of the movie. What the crew does for the movie maker is to help him translate the script into pictures and sound. This also implies that the crew and cast ought to operate in an enabling environment to be creative and efficient. Creaativity cannot be maximized in an atmosphere that is largely violent and chaotic. How can economic prosperity, intergration and peaceful co-existance thrive in hostile settings. The cast and crew may not work together and be committed if they hold strong ethnic and religious views against one another. The movement of crew, cast and equipment therefore becomes difficult. Major film and video film release points like Jos, Kano, Kaduna, Lagos, Onitsha-Aba, Enugu, Calabar, Abuja and Portharcourt have experienced one form of conflict or another and this has affected film making generally. Nigeria has experienced a number of violent conflicts after the 1967-1970 civil war. There have been conflicts between Modakeke and Ife, Aguleri and Amuleri, Itsekeri, Ijaw, Urhobo and Isoko, insurgency in north east and central Nigeria. Selected cases of Ethno-Religious Conflicts, attacks by Fulani Herdsmen and unknown gunmen in Nigeria indicate that Plateau State has been a flash point between September 7th 2001 and 13th March 2018. For instance, the September 7th, 2001 conflict was between Hausa\Muslims and Christian\ Indigenes. The subject matter was the political appointment of a non-Plateau in Jos North, a position the Plateau Youth Council believe belongs to them. Lives and properties were lost as a result of this conflict. Bagudu N. (2004),reveals that the BarkinLadi crises of December, 30th 2001, the Jos mayhem of May 2rd 2002, the Bassa ethnic clash with the Fulanion May 27th, 2002, the Yelwan-Shendam and Wase conflicts of June and July, 2002, spilled into Langtang North and Kanam in March 2003. According to Matawal (2012):

The violent crises that followed in 2002 to 2004 were mostly in the nature of reprisals. In fact, 2004 was the turn of the Southern Senatorial District of the State. The crises overwhelmed five of the six LGAs of the Southern zone and Kanam in the central zone too, was affected. The worst hit was Yelwa in Shendam LGA. (p102).

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