All you need to know about MOPPICON

There's a Bill that's been drawing quite a lot of attention in the Nigerian creative scene. You may question why my gaze is turned to Nigeria. After all, I haven't been there in six months or so, and I cannot see the litter filled beaches from my window. For me Nigeria is home. It's in my name, my skin, and my voice. It's in the way my pelvis seems to thrust to the base drum in spite of my abilities to curtail it. And it's certainly in the way that I give unsuspecting offenders the side eye.

I learned that from my Yoruba mother. Side eyes must be given at the drop of a hat, without any notice. If you have studied them as hard as I have, the most effective ones end as soon as they are caught. They leave the victims of their scorn, with only the suspicion of it. This obviously sends them into a spiral of insecurity about what you may or may not think of them.

The first two paragraphs are what my lecturers would call truly terrible news writing. I have only told you that there is a bill but I have failed to provide you with the who, what, or the why.

If you quite like your news in a video bloggy kind of way, then watch the video underneath this.

And if you like your news read by someone who seems like he's got his shit together then here's this.

I shall begin again.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has revealed plans to set up a committee to ensure the easy passage of a Bill known as the Motion Picture Practitioners Council of Nigeria Bill aka Moppicon.

It is a bitch of a thing to read properly. If I were him I would have renamed it, if only to save the poor journalist who's going have to present it with confidence and authority.

The Committee will include Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the CEO of the Africa Movie Academy Awards, the Chairman of the Audio Visual Rights Society of Nigeria, Mr. Mahmoud Alli-Balogun and 15 other people.

The Bill is the government's response to some of the problems that plague the industry. It was written about a decade ago, by veterans of the industry. This is problematic in of itself. The veterans of any industry are often out of touch with current developments of their industry. As a result of this they cannot be expected to be accurate about anything but the good old days.

If the Bill is passed, it will restrict participation in the business of film making to those who are members of a number of recognised bodies. Those who aren't members of these bodies will not be allowed to produce films for television, home video, or Cinema for profit. If they ignore the bill, then they'll be in danger of a hundred thousand naira fine or two years in prison.

This is problematic because it sounds like a barrier to entry that's regulated by the government in some way. If Nigerian history and current practice has anything to say about any restrictions to production, the process of joining one of these body's will be a corruption farm. When you dream about making a film, you'll also dream about the adopted uncle or aunt that'll help you with joining one of these bodies, and you'll dream about the money tree that you'll pluck the bribe that greases minds, stomachs and palms.

I am not alone in my criticism of it. C.J "Fiery" Obasi a winner of the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Trail Blazer Award said that it was outrageously elitist and one sided. Uduak Isong Oguamanam said that it would be the death of Nollywood.

I met Isioma Osaje at the AMVCA's last year. She sobbed her hellos because her joy at Blossom Chukwujeku winning an AMVCA was so great. She said, "the Moppicon bill that will make Isioma dust her Medical Certificate."

The Committee's co-ordinator has responded to a few of the criticisms. She said that changes would be made to ensure that the bill only regulates professional standards of filmmaking and not creativity. 
The Committee's first meeting was meant to be today, but tweeps on twitter say that it hasn't happened yet. 

Seun Agbelusi said, " So I heard the said MOPICON committee who were meant to review the bill at the designated venue and time are yet to show up."

Then she said, "So are they trying to review the bill in secrecy or what? Where is the Committee?"

And then she said, "Quick Update: The review of the MOPICON bill has been postponed indefinitely."    

Happy Days,

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