Runsewe advises filmmakers about cultural narratives in ‘Gang of Lagos’


Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, NCAC, has urged calm in the midst of the outcry caused by the development of a new film, “Gang Of Lagos.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Runsewe stated that there is a need for strategic rethinking on culturally connected themes by Nigerian filmmakers in order to minimize public resentments and reactions.

The debut of “Gang of Lagos,” co-produced by Jade Osiberu and Kemi Lala-Akindoju, on April 7 elicited reactions from the Lagos State government.

According to the state government’s reaction, the film presented the Eyo masquerade as a gun-wielding villain dressed in full traditional costume.

The state also believed it was a disrespect to the heritage and history of Lagos indigenes and a misrepresentation of the cultural spirit of Eyo masquerade.

Runsewe, on the other hand, begged with the state government and the people of Lagos to forgive the violations included in the film, promising to confront such cultural insensitivity head on.

He mentioned the Eyo masquerade as one of the primary cultural tourism goods linked with Lagos’ history and culture.

Runsewe recommended film makers to use caution when producing for public consumption on Nigerian cultural history in order to avoid causing tension and anger throughout 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 film making and production.

“With community theatre halls built at each of its local geo-space and even with John Randle Yoruba Museum, where researches on Yoruba culture and tradition can be learnt first hand.

“So, films with narratives on the ways of life of our people must trend on best acceptable and sensitive information profiling,” he said.

“Though the world of creativity is said to hold no boundaries but when it comes to cultural narratives, careful measures, strategic profiling, dedicated investigation should be done,” he said.

He said request to collaborate with custodians of national cultural and traditional institutions should be thoroughly considered and consulted.

“During the last National Festival for Arts and Culture, NAFEST, in Lagos, we, at NCAC wrote to the Oba of 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 same engagement route.

“Honestly, we at NCAC appreciate Nigerian filmmakers for the efforts to use such narratives, to contribute to national cultural tourism rebirth and acceptation, including its international cultural tourism value chain.

“But we must advise that a cultural sensitivity context and content analysis should be part of both production and post-production ecosystem,” he said.

Source: NAN


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