Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are Del-York International and the New York Film Academy not ripping off Ignorant Nigerians?



Are Del-York International and the New York Film Academy not ripping off Ignorant Nigerians?


It’s prohibitively expensive, even though we do need the training. Give us half that price and we’ll get the same kind of specialized resource persons from Asia to provide the same training.

~ Prof. Femi Shaka of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Port-Harcourt in Nigeria.


The nascent popularity of Nollywood, the Nigerian digital film industry has attracted global attention since a UNESCO Report rated it the second largest movie industry in the world after the United States of America and ahead of India’s Bollywood.

The largely homegrown industry has generated millions of naira and created thousands of jobs from Idumota in Lagos to Iweka in Onitsha and the environs in Eastern Nigeria where most of the producers and marketers hail from.

Over 80 percent of the movies are home videos of what would be rated as B-movies and slapstick comedies of typical Nigerian stories from both factual and fictional experiences in Africa’s most populous nation. These very low budget and hurriedly produced melodramatic and romantic thrillers of African juju, corrupt lifestyles and dysfunctional relationships between singles and married couples have become celebrated as Nollywood, the African Magic on cable TV, viewing centres, cinemas and circulated by vendors and incorrigible pirates all over Africa and overseas. Nollywood is the child of circumstance of the never-say-die Nigerian genius.

The low quality of the home videos has made them the laughing stock of Hollywood, but film scholars and sociologists have taken up the challenges of Nollywood as an important development in contemporary African culture and entertainment. To address the problems of the poor quality and unprofessionalism, many local practitioners and stakeholders have launched various film training centres in Lagos, Abuja and other regions, but many of them are opportunists who are ignorant of the availability of seasoned Nigerian professionals and scholars who have been educated and trained in different world class film schools in America, Europe and Asia. Many of them have been teaching at the National Film Institute of the Nigerian Film Corporation for decades.

The National Film Institute has produced outstanding and international award winning filmmakers who have competed with the best in the world and the school fees are in no way prohibitive.

The introduction of the short term training workshops of the popular New York Film Academy (NYFA) by Linus Idahosa’s Del-York International is good and laudable, but the tuition fees are too exorbitant for the average Nigerian in a country where the government is still haggling over the payment of a miserly monthly minimum wage of N18, 000 only and where over 75 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.



How many Nigerians can afford the $5000 or $3500 for only a four-week film training workshop that Del-York International is charging each person?
No private university in Nigeria even charges up to $3500 tuition fee for a whole term!
Why is Del-York International charging US dollars in Nigeria?

The following is the tuition fee for the same four-week workshop at the New York Film Academy.

HANDS-ON INTENSIVE 4-WEEK FILMMAKING WORKSHOP
START DATES FOR NEW YORK CITY & UNIVERSAL STUDIOS:
September 12, 2011 • October 3, 2011 • October 24, 2011 • January 3, 2012 • February 6, 2012
TUITION: $ 3,150 (USD)




Only rich Nigerians can afford to pay such exorbitant tuition fees for only four weeks training.

Yes, the New York Film Academy can charge such an amount in the US and other rich countries in Europe and Asia where majority of the populations are very comfortable and people earn better wages and the professionals earn more money. But you cannot charge such thousands of dollars monthly in a miserable poor country like Nigeria.

“It’s prohibitively expensive, even though we do need the training. Give us half that price and we’ll get the same kind of specialized resource persons from Asia to provide the same training,” said Prof. Femi Shaka of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Port-Harcourt in Nigeria.

There are enough Nigerian resource persons who are as qualified and efficient as the American tutors from the New York Film Academy.

The exploitation of ignorant people is common and big business where majority of the population fail to get information to find out the facts about products and services as available and affordable to them.

The more people are informed, the more educated and enlightened they would be.
There are hundreds of equally good and world class film schools in the United States where the tuition fees are just a quarter of what the Del-York International and New York Film Academy are charging in Nigeria.


~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Tuesday August 16, 2011.






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