Zuma Film Festival, a springboard for Economic growth in FCT, says Wike

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By Priscilla Osaje/Joshua Olomu

The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr Nyesom Wike, has described the annual Zuma International Film Festival (ZUFF) as a catalyst for economic growth in the Territory.

The minister stated this at the closing ceremony and award night of the 13th edition of the film fiesta, held on Friday night at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2023 ZUFF, held from December 1 to 8, with the theme “Cultural Convergence”, is organised by the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

He said that the festival was a veritable platform to drive tourism   and stimulate huge economic opportunities for the FCT.

Wike, who was represented by the FCT Minister of State, Dr Mariya Mahmoud, said the government was committed to implementing strategic plans aimed at further elevating the festival’s stature and impact.

“The Zuma Film Festival has not only been a platform for showcasing artistic brilliance but has also played a pivotal role in boosting the local economy.

“Through the influx of visitors, the patronage of local businesses and the promotion of tourism, this festival has significantly contributed to the economic growth of the FCT.

“Throughout the duration of the festival, you will agree with me that hotels, restaurants, transportation services and other sectors have experienced a surge in activity, creating employment opportunities and fostering economic development.

“We recognise the immense potential this event holds, not just as a cultural extravaganza but as a catalyst for economic prosperity,” he said.

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The minister said his administration was willing to reposition the festival to become a global brand that would attract tourists and investors in the creative sectors.

He said the organisers would form stronger ties with global filmmakers, production companies and film festivals for enhance economic benefits.

“We also seek to amplify the reach and prestige of the Zuma Festival on the global stage to attract more attention, participants, and investments, thereby augmenting the festival’s economic benefits for the FCT.

“Secondly, we plan to expand the festival’s programme to encompass a wider array of cultural activities, workshops and educational initiatives,” he said.

Earlier,in his remarks, Dr. Chidia Maduekwe, Managing Director, Nigerian Film Corporation and Chairman Organising Committee of ZUFF, said the festival was  to  provide  a networking platform  for Nigerian filmmakers and their counterparts from other  countries.

He said it was to expand film co-production opportunities beneficial to Nigerian film makers, recognize and reward cinematic excellence, boost export potentials of Nigerian films and herald Nigeria as Africa’s tourism and film destination hub.

“At the 13th edition, our focus was on culture, and the aim is to use the festival to highlight the core area of our existence as a people from which most of the content of Nollywood is derived.

“That explains why the theme is “Cultural Convergence”, simply everything about our uniqueness and diversity.

“We are confident that the event has opened more    vistas to how as creatives we can harness our diversities in culture for a united   country.

“We are delighted that the current dispensation is emphasizing the creative industry with the creation of the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy.

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“It is our conviction that the festival has deepened the perspective of the renewed hope agenda of our dear President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, as it relates to Culture and creative industry,” he said.

NAN reports that the highpoint of the ZUFF 2023 closing ceremony was the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Awards to the FCT minister of state and other Nigerians, including legendary singer Onyeka Onwenu.

Other recipients include veteran Kannywood actress Saratu Gidado, a.k.a ‘Daso’,Clarence Peters  and Dauda  Kahuta, popularly known as ‘Rarara’ among others (NAN)

Edited by Sadiya Hamza

Philip Daniel Yatai

Principal Correspondent, NAN Abuja

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