Film marketers, others battle Zik Zulu

NOLLYWOOD may have been enmeshed in series of factional battles in recent times, but alienation of its member as punitive measure was last experienced in 2005, when some A-list thespians were blacklisted by film marketers for alleged misconducts.

If the threats to ostracize, by some guild heads, last Wednesday is anything to go by, then president of Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Zik Zulu Okafor and his members, may find it tough to produce or market their movies in the coming months.

The group, led by President of Film and Video Producers and Marketers Association of Nigeria (FVPMAN), Mr. Nobert Ajaegbu, President of Screen Writers Guild of Nigeria (SWGN), Mr. Chike Bryan have sworn to cripple the activities of AMP unless members unseat their current leaders who was alleged to have made some unguarded statements in an article, purportedly published in Thisday Newspaper of March 23, 2013.

“We regrettably note with dismay, the reckless statement, unguarded opinions, uncouth attitude and irresponsible behavior in recent times, exhibited by the leadership of AMP (as represented by Zik Zule Okafor). Recall that on 23rd of March, Zik Zulu Okafor, caused to be published, in a national daily, an article that poses serious cause for concern. He had in the article lampooned and castigated the President’s celebration of Nollywood @20. He had said and I quote: “… it brought no zest and added no zing to our dizzying journey in Nollywood and so it … couldn’t be the defining moment Nollywood had long awaited.” Read the statement signed by Ajaegbu.

He noted that so many other unpalatable opinions were expressed in the article which is considered embarrassing, untrue and misinforming designed to mislead the general public.

Ajaegbu and his colleagues at a media conference in Surulere, Lagos, proffered that until members of AMP elect another leader, they are severing all professional relationship with the association. They ruled that no member of FVPMAN will market or distribute any film produced by any member of AMP within the intervening period.

Asked if this is a way of asking members to ask for the resignation of their president, Ajaegbu said it is left to members of AMP to restore their association with the marketers’ union. Bryan on his part also added that henceforth, the membership of Okafor, has been revoked by the SWGN.

The group also frowned at the proposed Nollywood @ 20 celebrations, canvassed by AMP. They argued that AMP’s motive does not represent the interest of the entire industry, which has other associations within the English language film sector, as well as the Yoruba and Hausa language wings of the Nigerian motion picture industry.

But perhaps all is not about drawing a battle line between other guilds and AMP’s leadership; the group praised the initiative of President Goodluck Jonathan on the proposed N3 billion film industry grant, asking that the fund administrators should beware of people who may suddenly become filmmakers overnight in their bid to access the fund.

They pledged their support for the coming edition of Africa Movie Academy awards (AMAA), endorsing a work free day for members on April 19th and 20th.

When contacted on phone, Zik Zulu said he’s aware of the threat by the Marketers; he also posited that there are some things that he would not stoop to comment on.

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