Monday 22 June 2020

Post-lockdown advisory for creative industry

Matthew Simpa at work in a studio.

With gradual unlocking of Nigeria's economic space, a post-lockdown agenda has been suggested by one of the most experienced creative professionals in Nigeria.

Speaking on recovery for the creative industry in a covid-19 economy, Matthew Simpa, a veteran filmmaker and Head of Ben Auto Entertainment said collaborations among producers is the way forward for recovery. Simpa, whose experience dates back to the 1980s era of pre-digital till date said, as head of the film production department at Ben Auto Entertainment, he hopes to take the company to lead a fresh wave of creativity  in the industry.

"Collaboration is the way to go after Covid-19 crisis," stated Simpa. "It will be unwise for individuals to single handedly bear the brunt of a movie production as sharing the burden will result in improved quality and ability to compete on the global scene." He disclosed that talks are on going with some Nollywood producers in Lagos, Asaba and Portharcourt to embark on such projects immediately the covid-19 restrictions are relaxed. He also advised "other professionals in the creative industry" such as visual artists, musicians and theatre artistes to explore collaboration alternative for a fast recovery from the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

"With Ben Auto Entertainment, I finally get the opportunity to take my dream to the apogee of my career," said Simpa. "Ben Auto has been in business for decades with its tentacles in the automobile sales business, event and hospitality, music, education and so on." Simpa stated that his expatise   combined with experience and business savviness of Managing Director, Prince Ben Ukadike are enough to energise sustainable collaboration that "will result in yet another revolution in the movie/video production sector."

In his over 30 years of filmmaking, Simpa has always been in the forefront of revolution. After his exploits with Meshfilms Ltd in producing celluloid films on reversal film stocks in the mid 1980s to early 1990s, he joined the evangelical home movies train in 1995 and helped create a growing evangelical film making sector. In 2014, he produced Outside the Box, yet another revolutionary Christian movie that is still widely acclaimed six years later.

In March this year, he joined newly created Ben Auto Entertainments as head of the film production department.

Ben Auto Entertainment recently acquired state of the arts video production equipment. The company’s main goal now is to enter into collaboration with interested movie/video producers to do joint productions.

Simpa, whose credits in film productions include quite a number of titles in pre-digital era studied cinematography at Nigerian College of Film Technology, Owo Ondo State, in 1984. Simpa, for example, was the Assistant Director of Jagunlabi, a celluloid film produced by Tajudeen Sowole and directed by Sunday Ossai with Yemi Meshioye as lead actor, in 1988.
In 2014, Simpa shot 'Outside the Box', a domestic drama about marital challenges, which featured Yeni Ejide Davies.

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