A "NEW WAVE" Of Cinema and Its Cultural Impact: How Filmhouse is Changing the Narrative in Africa
On Thursday, November 15, 2018, Representatives of Filmhouse Cinemas and Film One met with members of the press at The Cube, Filmhouse in Lekki, Lagos for a round-table discussion on African Cinema, the role of film in society and the economy and how Filmhouse is trying to impact the culture of cinema-going in Africa, starting off at home in Nigeria.
Leading the conversations were Co-founder and Group Managing Director of Filmhouse cinemas and FilmOne Distribution and Production limited, Kene Okwuosa and Moses Babatope who is the Group Executive Director of Filmhouse Cinemas and the Managing Director of FilmOne Distribution and Production Limited.
The aim of the round-table was to share with the press information on the growth of Filmhouse’s business in Nigeria, its vision for 2019, and to further enlighten them on the differences between the two brands; Filmhouse cinemas and FilmOne Distribution and Production Limited and how these two brands co-exist as ultimately one entity, striving to achieve the same goal. In explaining the differences between FilmOne and Filmhouse Cinemas, both Mr. Okwuosa and Mr. Babatope stressed that Filmhouse is an exhibition company while FilmOne is a production and distribution company.
“Filmhouse cinemas is in the business of showcasing blockbuster films. We are what our name says: a Film House. Our Company’s mission is to continue to create magical experiences through content that entertains and inspires. We are driven by the need to continue discovering new and innovate ways of creating inspiring experiences, delivering world-class service and bringing the magic of cinema to life. Our philosophy is defined by simplicity, offering luxury and quality in the most premium and affordable way, primarily to ensure that our guests receive absolute value. We focus on offering the best service, leaving that magical experience with every guest, each and every time,” said Mr. Kene Okwuosa, the GMD of Filmhouse Cinemas, as he explained to the press the nature of Filmhouse Cinemas.
Mr. Babatope further asserted that while creating Filmhouse Cinemas, it was important to all stakeholders that they also create an avenue for creating original content and as such, FilmOne produces original content or serves as the licensed distributor for companies producing original content. FilmOne’s vision for 2019 and onwards, includes partnering with international studios to produce Nollywood/Hollywood content, powerful enough to be critically acclaimed both at home and abroad, as well as being commercially successful internationally and locally. One such example that FilmOne uses as inspiration for this goal would be the Bollywood/Hollywood masterpiece, “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Indeed, it is evident that these two brands aim to position themselves as THE voice of authority in the Nigerian film industry, demonstrate capacity and show ability in bringing together industry people to not only create incredible and awe-inspiring works but also, to reward those in the industry that are game-changers and innovators.
Mr. Okwuosa, went on to explain that Filmhouse has been able to stay ahead of its competitors due to the various strategies that have been implemented, such as the ongoing campus tour, where the cinema experience is taken to public and private universities around the nation. According to Mr. Kene, “the Filmhouse marketing team have been clever about the positioning of products and have approached our activities in a targeted way to ensure growth in all locations. Our Campus tour, for example, is a useful way of whetting the appetite for premium cinema in the locations we have yet to enter.”
Mr. Okwuosa asserted that unlike other cinema groups in the industry, FilmOne Distribution and Production continues to support various indigenous movies, such as The Vendor, The Ghost & The Tout, King of Boys, and Merry Men, which have all kept top spots for several weeks since their releases. His colleague, Mr. Babatope, reiterated that “[we] see growth in the indigenous titles in Nigeria, which can sometimes be a marathon or a painful investment, but we are committed to its development as the indigenous market is key to the growth of Nigerian theatrical movie industry.”
The Filmhouse team also discussed the upcoming Film Gala in January and how the event is very important in advancing their goals for 2019. The gala; brought to you by Moët & Chandon with Filmhouse, is set to not only celebrate the trailblazers and icons of the film industry but also, highlight indigenous filmmakers in the country. Indigenous filmmakers are changing contemporary cinema, producing an astonishing volume of content that continues to change the film game in this country. It is thus important and necessary that we give them the platforms they deserve in order to better tell our stories and create space for us on the global stage.
Filmhouse has partnered with a premium brand, Moët & Chandon, who are known to not only create customized luxury experiences but are also committed to supporting and providing visibility to the Arts, along with worthy causes, events and outstanding contributions related to the Arts.
Filmhouse Cinemas have 10 cinemas spread across Lekki, Adeniran Ogunsanya Surulere, Leisure Mall, Dugbe, Samonda, Ibadan, Kano, Benin, Port Harcourt Twin Waters Oniru and in Akure. The IMAX is the largest cinema screen in West Africa, boasting of the largest footfall since its inception. Filmhouse strives to provide customers with premium standards while remaining affordable. There are plans to open in 3 other locations by Easter 2019 – An IMAX at Circle Mall, 4D Cinema in Landmark and 3D screen cinema at Osogbo.