Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Wednesday inspected the trendy sugar film factory, one of the administration’s iconic projects which seek to refocus the state’s economy for job creation, youth empowerment, and improved standard of living.
Designed to make Kwara a major hub in the last mile movie production and creative industry in west Africa, the facility earned its name from the nostalgic Tate and Lyle Sugar Factory which collapsed in the 1990s, in what underscored the Governor’s rich sense of history.
The project is one of those being funded from the bond the state accessed in 2021.
In a brief interview with reporters at the project site, AbdulRazaq noted that the contents of Nollywood are increasingly dominating the world but that efforts must be geared towards improving production quality for them to compete with Hollywood and Bollywood.
“Our huge investment in the creative industry is to expand the economic base of the state and deepen the creative industry. That’s the way to go. Everyone sees our state as a civil service state. We want to change that. We want to make this state a destination for high-quality movie production,” he told journalists shortly after he was conducted round the facility by Project Manager Kamaldeen Abolarin.
“It is about thinking outside the box. You’ve seen how Nigeria’s music has dominated the world. You’ve seen how Nollywood has dominated the world. It is important for Nollywood to move from what some may call videos to cinematography. It is about expanding the quality of what we produce. So that Nigerian movies can feature more on the international scene. We have very rich contents, but we need to invest in the quality of our production. Our facility offers this.
“Gradually, we are getting there. You’ve seen our films on Netflix and other global platforms but we want more of our films there. What India has done is to improve the quality of films, that’s what we want to offer here in Kwara.”
He expressed satisfaction at the progress of work done, hoping that the contractor will deliver it for operation in the next few months.
“So far, so good. I am impressed. More equipment are coming in. Very soon, we will start film production in the state, and people will be coming in from outside the state to do the last-mile production of their movies in the state. And that means a great boost to the economy,” he added.
“We are open to partnerships, and we, of course, invite film producers and others in the creative industry to work with us.”
The facility, which is the first phase, has been furnished to taste as contractors commence installation of different high-tech gadgets and world-class sound stages and studios.
The film factory, specifically, is equipped with cyclorama studio; 2 TV production studios; large independent film production studio; Green Rooms; makeup facilities; training rooms; photography studios; co-working offices; buildings suites; and large canteen.
Like the innovation hub, international conference centre, industrial park, garment factory, and others, the sugar film factory is carefully linked with the visual arts centre whose components include a Dolby-fitted studio, indicating an emerging local economy built around creative industry, innovation, and enterprise, and dominated by young people.