Top indigenous film-makers and actors that include Dele Odule, Jide Kosoko and Tunji Bamisigbin have opposed an alleged plan by a pay-TV provider, Star Times, to broadcast Chinese films dubbed into Yoruba and other indigenous languages.
According to them, the development is capable of destroying the indigenous film industry.
They spoke at a briefing held at the LTV complex, Ikeja, Lagos, last Wednesday.
At the event attended by actors, producers and marketers, including Yemi Solade, Yomi Fash-Lanso, Alhaji Abdullahi Abdurasak and Tunji Ojetola, they called on the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and the National Assembly to stop the move that they described as one that can cause cultural erosion.
In his speech as the President of the Theatre Arts and Movie Practitioners Association of Nigeria, Odule said, as stakeholders, they had the responsibility to act as gate keepers to monitor and regulate practice in Nigeria.
He said it was also part of their duty to preserve cultural values and the economic gains that the industry was bringing to the country.
He said, “Today, the Nigerian film industry is enmeshed in problems of the misapplication of the almost endless possibilities provided by technology, which is devastating the not-so-strong structure on which the industry operates. Already it is overwhelmed by all manner of abuse ranging from the cankerworm of the Nigerian kind of piracy where pirates operate in the same market with right owners, to the selling of all manner of foreign films uncensored, and sales of hard copies of dubbed foreign films in the Yoruba Language, made in Alaba, with the connivance of unscrupulous Yoruba people, leaving practitioners worse for it.
“You may have observed, as you pass by some bus stops in Lagos, a convergence of youngsters watching some Chinese or Indian films that have been dubbed into distorted and uncouth dialogues in Yoruba.
“The more shocking development is that there is an attempt by the Chinese to institutionalise the trend, with Star Times to serve as a TV station dubbing thousands of Chinese films into Yoruba and Hausa
“We hereby reject this development in its entirety and urge the Federal Government and our regulatory agencies to rise onto their feet and see the danger inherent in this practice and stop the trend. This is totally uncalled for at this time when the Federal Government is looking in the direction of the film industry as a viable alternative to oil in its economic diversification policy.”
Attempts to get Star Times’ reaction on the issue, including calls and text messages sent to the telephone line of the company’s Manager and Head, Public Relations, Mr. Israel Bolaji, had not yielded fruits as of 7 pm production time on Tuesday.