NFC distributes vintage movie, Shaihu Umar, to tertiary institutions

by Araayo Akande

Tertiary institutions, including the Universities of Ibadan, Calabar, Benin, Nigeria and Port-Harcourt, will receive a copy of the vintage movie, ‘Shaihu Umar’, courtesy of the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC).

‘Shaihu Umar’ is a film adaptation of a novel written by the late Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa. It was filmed and directed in 1976 by Adamu Halilu, ex-Chief Executive of the NFC, an offshoot of the former Federal Film Unit. 

NFC recently restored the movie by collaborating with the German Government and its institutions, including the Arsenal Institute for Film & Video Arts (DFF) Frankfurt, Goethe University, Deutseches Film Institute & Film Museum, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD), Germany as well as the  Lagos Film Society. 

 However, the Arsenal Institute for Film & Video Arts took the lead in the recovery and digitisation of the film. It also donated a film scanner to the  National Film Video & Sound Archive (NFVSA), Jos to recover and digitise its other celluloid films.  

Other institutions that will get a digital copy of the film, part of NFC’s efforts to boost production training through the use of vintage film footages and archival materials, are Adeleke University, University of Maiduguri, Bayero University, Umaru Musa Yaradua University, Taraba State University and Ambrose Alli University.  

The Smart Image Film and Theatre Institute, Ibadan, Kaduna State University, Abia State University and Obafemi Awolowo University will also get copies of the film.  

Commenting on the initiative, the Managing Director of the NFC, Dr  Chidia Maduekwe, disclosed the digitised movie had a successful outing in Europe and Asia.

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He added that the digitised ‘Shaihu Umar’ is a remarkable breakthrough in the rescue efforts of vintage Nigerian films still in the celluloid format.

The MD also lauded NFC’s German collaborators and the Lagos Film Society for their roles in the recently introduced Masters Programme in Film Culture & Archival Studies at the National Film Institute, Jos. 

 He asked filmmakers to take advantage of the NFVSA and deposit copies of their productions for preservation and archiving free of charge. 

Maduekwe, who also reiterated the importance of archiving Nigerian films, added that the NFVSA has the mandate to acquire, preserve and archive audio-visual materials.

Its operations, he said, include the protection of intellectual property rights of owners of archival deposits in its custody.

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