Segun Runsewe , Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture ( NCAC), has said the uproar created by the production of a new film, Gang of Lagos, calls for strategic rethinking on cultural-related narratives by film makers in Nigeria, to avoid public resentment and reactions.
Runsewe pleaded with the Lagos State Government and the good people of Lagos to forgive the infractions contained in the flick, assuring to arrest such cultural insensitivity headlong. Gang of Lagos, had depicted the iconic Eyo masquerade as enabler of violence, drawing angry reactions from cultural groups on Lagos Island and from the state government, which described it as “a misrepresentation of cultural ethos of Eyo masquerade and insulting to the tradition and history of Lagos indigenes”.
Runsewe, who doubles as President, World Craft Council, Africa Region, noted that Eyo masquerade was one of the key cultural tourism products, associated with the history of Lagos, nay Nigerian culture.
He advised filmmakers to be well-guided when producing films on Nigerian cultural history so as not to provoke tension and irritation across the country.
“Lagos State Government, for instance, has invested and continues to champion the growth of the creative sector, targeting young persons for training in all aspects of filmmaking and production, with community theatre halls built at each of its local geospace and even with JK Randle Yoruba Museum, where researches on Yoruba culture and tradition, can be learnt first hand.” he noted.
Films with narratives on the ways of the life of our people must trend on best acceptable and sensitive information profiling, “ Runsewe said.
Recall the world of creativity is said to hold no boundaries, Runsewe noted that “when it comes to cultural narratives, careful measures, strategic profiling, dedicated investigation and request to collaborate with custodians of national cultural and traditional institutions should be thoroughly considered and consulted.
“During the last National Festival of Arts And Culture (NAFEST) in Lagos, we at NCAC wrote to the Oba of l Lagos, requesting the participation of the iconic Eyo masquerade. We were made to appreciate and understand that Eyo masquerade public appearance is guided by certain traditional ethics and procedure, so we expect our filmmakers to follow the same engagement route.
“Honestly, we at NCAC appreciate Nigerian filmmakers for the efforts to use such narratives, not only to contribute to national cultural tourism rebirth and acceptance, including its international cultural tourism value chain but also we must advise that a cultural sensitivity context and content analysis should be part of both production and post-production ecosystem,” Runsewe explained.