The governor of Lagos State in Nigeria has announced that ground will be broken on a $100m studio complex before the end of this month.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the 12th African International Film Festival, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said work would begin at the town of Epe, 130km east of Lagos.
He said African Film City, as the studios will be called, would boost Nigeria’s ability to produce original films and television programmes. He added that the investment in physical infrastructure would be supported by a doubling of state funding to develop Nigerian talent in the film-making business.
He added that he hoped this would encourage Nigerian writers and directors to create “Africanised” content that would “change the continent’s socio-cultural narrative”. He said this would show the world Nigeria as it is, and give a more revealing account of its history.
Nigerian cinema – Nollywood, as it is known – itself has a long and complex history. It also has a huge output: in 2009, Unesco rated it as the second-biggest in the world after India, and last year it made $6.4bn in revenue from more than 2,500 movies.
“We have great plans under way,” Sanwo-Olu told reporters. “First, we will be doing the groundbreaking for African Film City before the end of this month. It will be on 100ha of land in Epe and it will be massive.”
He added that the project would take between 24 and 30 months to complete.
The project is to be overseen by the Del-York Group, a Nigerian creative consultancy and advertising agency.