Globally, film cities are just as important tourist attractions as people can watch live shootings, visit their favourite film sets, and learn more about filmmaking. In addition to that, they also have adventurous spots, museums, luxury hotels, and many more.
These also generate a lot of employment for many people. They create high revenue for the state governments and act as a base for producing films, making the country proud in the field of filmmaking.
The time for creatives is here in Nigeria. A common ground for artistic expression is about to be realised in the state of Lagos. One that will resound across the world as a beacon of opportunity and national economic growth.
Lagos State buzzed with excitement as government dignitaries and key players in the Nigerian film industry gathered for the groundbreaking ceremony of the anticipated Kebulania Film City project on October 18, 2023.
Located in the aquatic town of Epe, the Kebulania Film City promises to be a world-class hub for film production, attracting filmmakers from across the globe. With state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technology, this project aims to position Nigeria as a major player in the international film market.
This venture, born through collaborations between Del-York and the Lagos State government, along with other creative arts institutions like Storyland Studios and Ebonyi Life Creative Academy, is set to transform the landscape of the Nigerian film industry.
Lagos Film City, worth $100 million, goes beyond a mere infrastructure project; it represents the aspiration for education, opportunity, and economic prosperity. Through a collaboration between the Lagos State Government and private entities, this project will provide Nigerian youth with educational and professional chances in the entertainment sector. By nurturing talent and enhancing skills, the aim is to elevate Nigeria’s creative influence on a global scale.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the film city, Linus Idahosa, CEO of the Del-York group, noted the success and challenges that threatened to breach the progress of the project. He said, “We have been training filmmakers for the past 13 to 15 years and flying in lecturers from different parts of the world here for this programme. But one of the things we have discovered is that there is a vast amount of talent scattered across this country, but opportunity is not that available. So, the idea behind Lagos Film City is to create an ecosystem that bridges the gap between academia and industry, and we are just supporters of this venture.”
Idahosa continued on the mass infrastructure of the entertainment city; he said, “There are many questions about the scale of this project and how possible it will be to be able to create that critical infrastructure that is needed to take the industry to the next phase. Fortunately for us, we have a governor who has a very keen understanding of what it takes to build an industry that will take this country to where it needs to be.”
Also at the ceremony, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Lagos State governor, emphasised the significance of the project for the state and the nation as a whole.
“As we break the ground for this $100million film city covering a land area of 100 hectares of land and which will be executed on the Private Public Partnership model, we are laying the foundation for a creative hub that will serve as a catalyst for innovation, talent discovery, and storytelling excellence,” Sanwo-Olu said. “This film city will be a testament to our commitment to nurturing the arts and supporting the dreams of aspiring filmmakers, actors, and technicians.
Furthermore, the First Film City in Lagos State will create numerous job opportunities, stimulate economic growth, and attract investment. It will be a hub for film production, post-production, visual effects, and all the ancillary services that support the filmmaking process, Sanwo-Olu said.
The event also featured the attendance of notable figures from the Nigerian film industry and prominent filmmakers, including the likes of Kunle Afolayan, Jide Kosoko, movie makers and directors, Adeoye Adewale Elesho (expatriate in the movie industry), Zeb Ejiro, and much more. All who are enthusiastic about seeing the progress of the project.
The Kebulania Film City is set to have a massive impact on Epe town, generating employment opportunities for its residents and boosting economic growth. The project is expected to be completed in several phases, with the first phase scheduled for completion in the coming years.
In addition to its cultural significance, Lagos Film City will also have a notable economic impact on Lagos, Nigeria, and Africa. By incorporating production, distribution, and exhibition, the project will stimulate growth in the sector, leading to prosperity and recognition for Nigerian cinema.
Tuan Van Sambeek, managing director of Del-York Infrastructure, noted the significance of the project and the promise riding behind its success. “For me, this project is very important. I have been working on this project for three years, and I think now it is sort of a turning point. Now we will really get started on creating what we have been imagining for the last three years,” he said.
When asked how long it would take for the project to be realised, he said, “It is basically in two phases. Phase one is the phase where we create the film university, and we also create the quick concrete factory that would produce the elements to build the city, so, we can build it very fast. We also built some dorms and infrastructure, like roads, to get from the main roads to this project side in a very efficient way,” he said.
“I think it is very difficult to imagine now what it is going to bring, but it is going to bring a lot. I think the creative industry is one of the biggest.”
The Kebulania Film City is set to revolutionise the Nigerian film industry, providing a conducive environment for creativity to flourish and cementing Nigeria’s position as a powerhouse in the world of cinema and life-changing opportunities for citizens and the country.
Lights have been shone. Cameras are rolling. The stage is set for the Kebulania Film City to take the Nigerian film industry to new heights, and Epe town is poised to become the vibrant epicentre of cinematic excellence. Get ready, world, because Nigeria is about to shine brighter than ever before!