FilmOne Entertainment, an independent distributor of filmed entertainment with emphasis on Nigeria territory, has launched the first-ever international capital fund created specially for investment in Nigerian films. Core investors in the $1 million fund are Huahua Media, and Empire Entertainment (South Africa).
While Huahua Media is a Chinese company known for investing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, Transformers: The Last Knight and Star Trek Beyond, as well as AY’s next movie, 30 Days in China, Empire Entertainment is a leading African distributor representing major Hollywood studios and a host of leading independent studios and producers. Both companies will assist in identifying the films with the most potential for theatrical release and box office success in global markets.
On hand to witness signing of the historic agreement by executives of Huahua and FilmOne are Chu Maoming, consul general, People’s Republic of China; Uju Emagha, zonal coordinator, National Film and Videos Censors Board, representing Adedayo Thomas, the executive director; Kefei Wang, CEO, Huahua Media; Johnny Fu Cong, Huahua Media; Kene Okwuosa, co-founder, FilmOne; Moses Babatope, co-founder, FilmOne; and Chinaza Onuzo, director, FilmOne.
Consul General Chu welcomed the new development, saying that, “This is the very first film fund between Chinese and African partners, which is signalling a growing interest in Nollywood by China and the international film community. We welcome this partnership between Chinese and African companies, as they seek to increase the number of premium Nollywood films being made, by providing filmmakers with bigger budgets and technical advice to improve the quality of their films.”
Moses Babatope, managing director, FilmOne, is excited about what the fund means for the Nigerian film industry. “This is the first of many investments being planned by Huahua, Empire Entertainment (South Africa) and FilmOne, to take Nollywood to a higher level of production quality and global appreciation of our content. Our filmmakers have the talent, but lack access to the capital that would allow them to produce the movies they dream about. This fund aims to change that paradigm by partnering with them, to provide the resources they need to make better films, and create more jobs and opportunities for other creatives”, Babatope said.
Babatope also gave credit to the Nigerian government for facilitating seamless visit of Huahua executives, as well as the support of the National Film and Videos Censors Board. Further announcements will be made regarding the slate of films to be funded.