Distinguished guests, good evening. My name is David Greene, and it is my pleasure to welcome you all to this reception in honor of Nigerian creatives and our visiting filmmaker Shofela Coker. Welcome home, Shof.
Tonight, we celebrate the vibrant spirit of Nigerian creativity and the individuals who contribute to the global cultural tapestry. Nigeria’s film and music industries have enthralled audiences far and wide with their powerful storytelling and diverse narratives. The success of these industries reflects the extraordinary talent and resilience of Nigerian creatives who overcome great odds, like lack of funding and sometimes limited technical expertise, to make their voices heard on a global stage.
Through the Embassy’s Public Diplomacy Section, we have provided support to several festivals across Nigeria. This includes the Abuja International Film Festival, the Africa International Film Festival, and the Eastern Nigeria International Film Festival, among others. Since 2017, we have supported training for more than 300 Nigerian filmmakers in different aspects of filmmaking, both here in Nigeria, with American facilitators, and in the United States through the American Film Showcase Documentary Residency in Los Angeles, California. Nigerian filmmakers are taking Nigerian stories to global audiences. Increasingly, CJ Obasi’s “Mami Wata” and Editi Effiong’s “The Black Book” are examples of two Nigerian films that redefined what is possible in Nollywood. This year also, Shof took the story of Nigerian legend Moremi, who sacrificed herself to save her village, to the global stage in a Yoruba-inspired sci-fi animation, “Moremi.” “Moremi” is one of ten films in the afro-futuristic sci-fi anthology, Kizazi Moto; Generation Fire, created by Africans and backed by Disney. I commend Shof for taking the bold step, alongside his other colleagues, to reimagine the future of Africa.
Shof has spent the last couple of days in Nigeria giving back to the community by leading a workshop for 20 emerging animation filmmakers. By sharing his expertise and journey with the young artists, he has laid a foundation for them to follow in his footsteps with careers in the creative sector.
I would also like to thank Dr. Chidia and his team at Nigerian Film Corporation, who are giving young Nigerians a platform to share their stories and be heard. We appreciate our longstanding relationship with the Nigerian Film Corporation and the Zuma Film Festival, and we are committed in our efforts to create an enabling environment for Nigerian creatives to thrive.
Tonight, let us together envision a future where Nigeria’s creative sector is the driver of the economy. Let us support the talents, in this room and beyond, and harness their creativity to drive sustainable development.
Again, I wish to express my gratitude to you for honoring our invitation by joining us this evening. I will now invite Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director and CEO of the Nigeria Film Corporation, for his remarks.