Wednesday, July 17, 2013
IMAX Theaters Coming To Nigeria
Mr. Giovani Dolci, IMAX’s Vice President for Theater Development in Europe, Middle East and Africa visited Nigeria for the first time from July 14-16, 2013, to meet with Mr. Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, a major stakeholder in the Nigerian film industry who is poised to have the first IMAX Theater in Nigeria as soon as possible. Mr. Giovanni Dolci has been in charge of IMAX sales and business development, responsible for negotiations with exhibitors and distributors throughout EMEA to support the market’s transition to digital projection technology. He joined IMAX after 10 years at London-based Arts Alliance Media, which specializes in digital cinema technology and was also film finance executive, and executive producer with Beach Front Films, a New Zealand-based film production company, where he oversaw financing international co-production projects.
Radisson Blu Anchorage Hotel on Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria.
Giovanni Dolci and Michael Chima who was accompanied by his legal adviser Mr. Biola Ladipo, COO of Screen Outdoor Open Air Cinema (SOOAC) and associate Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, President of the annual Eko International Film Festival met with the Nigerian Bank of Industry on Monday July 15, 2013, at the Lagos office where they were welcomed by Mrs. Cynthia Uche Nwuka, Mr. Okechukwu Madu and Mr. Lawrence A. Ewah. The Bank of Industry is investing millions of dollars in the sustainable development of the Nigerian film industry with the co-funding of the film adaptation of the award winning novel “Half of A Yellow Sun” of famous Nigerian female novelist Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie to be released before Christmas; financing the building of new movie theaters (called cinemas in these parts) and launching the largest distribution network for Nollywood with over 10, 000 sales outlets for Nigerian movies on DVD. The bank also co-sponsored the launching of Michael Chima’s nationwide Screen Naija One Village, One Cinema Project taking cinemas to communities in both the urban and rural areas in all the local government areas of Africa’s most populous nation with over 160 million people and famous for Nollywood, the continent’s largest film industry producing thousands of low budget movies (mostly in videos) and creating thousands of jobs for one of the fastest growing populations of youths in the world.
Mr. Dolci also met with other stakeholders in the Nigerian film industry, including Mr. Femi Odugbemi, CEO of Dvworx and Co-founder/Festival Director of the annual iRepresent International Documentary Forum and Patrick Lee, the General Manager of Ozone Cinemas in Lagos. Then he visited Ozone, Silverbird and Genesis Deluxe cinemas all located in Lagos and scheduled to also visit the Silverbird Cinemas in Accra, Ghana before returning to London.
“The first IMAX Cinema in Nigeria and likely also the first in West Africa will be built in Festac, one of the most urbanized towns in the Amuwo Odofin local government area of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria and the most densely populated state in the country. Lagos has the biggest economy in West Africa and is the hub of the booming entertainment industry,” said Michael Chima at the preliminary meeting of Giovanni Dolci with Comrade Ayodele Adewale, the Executive Chairman of the Amuwo Odofin Local Government at the secretariat in Festac on Tuesday July 16, 2013.
They were welcomed by Mr. Segun Ajayi, BL, the Council Manager and other officials of the local government who showed Mr. Dolci the enormous potentials of having an IMAX Theater in Festac with a population of over 1 million people who are a successful blend of both lower middle class and upper middle class Nigerians and foreigners. The booming modern town was built over 36 years ago to accommodate thousands of participants and guests at the Second in 1977, but without a single cinema. At the meeting were Mr. Hope Obioma Opara, Mr. Biola Ladipo, Mr. Shaibu Husseini, Nigeria’s leading film critic of The Guardian newspapers, who is also Chairman of the College of Screeners of Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Mr. Victor Akande of The Nation newspapers and news reporters of the Amuwo Odofin Local Government’s Media Center.
The first IMAX Theater in Nigeria is going to be ready before next Valentine and projected to attract over 500, 000 people weekly from all the communities in the Amuwo Odofin local government area and nearby towns.
“There is no cinema experience like the IMAX Experience and until you see it, you have not seen the best in motion picture,” said Michael Chima who has attracted major investors and stakeholders to increase the number of IMAX theatres after the successful take off of the first one.