Vanguard (Lagos)

20 November 2009

Nigeria: Bollywood Meets Nollywood at Ion International Film Festival

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In what appears to be the first ever move between two of the world's biggest movie industries, award-winning Indian-origin film and television producer, Parminder Vir is set to bring Bollywood and Nollywood practitioners together at this year's edition of the ION international film festival billed to kick off from December 9 through 13, at the garden city of Port-Harcourt, Rivers State capital.

Bollywood has over 50 years charmed African audiences with its song-and-dance capers.

Vir, a fan of both Indian and Nigerian films disclosed that the festival will be attended by film maker Madhu Mantena, producer of the Aamir Khan star 'Ghajini', as well as actress Nandita Das, who will meet with the country's producers to explore ways of working together.

'Over the years, I have become a great admirer of the Nollywood film industry which is very similar to Bollywood with their 'can do' attitude. In the absences of government support, both have created an industry which contributes substantially to the wealth of the nation,' Vir told IONS.

'For over fifty years, audiences in Nigeria have been watching Bollywood movies, embracing the songs, fashion and stories of this film culture,' she added.

Almost unknown to producers in India, the Nigerian film industry has grown imperceptibly into a $250 million dollar-a-year industry employing thousands of people and churning out 500-1,000 movies a year.

According to her, Mantena and Das would share their experience of the industry - its cultural and business - and explore collaboration opportunities for 'Nollywood' producers to work with the Indian film industry.

Rivers State governor, Chibuike Ameachi, earlier at a media parley, expressed the readiness of the state to host the festival, assuring participants of their safety while the festival lasts.

The four-day event according to festival organizers, "is a celebration for the people, and we want to say that Nollywood is one of the greatest things that has come from Nigeria.

For the first time, Ion International Film Festival will be holding in Africa, with Port Harcourt, Rivers State- Nigeria, as venue.

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