By Kennedy Eberechi.
It is most unusual to see a large pool of entertainment heavyweights gather in a setting outside organized special entertainment events such as the AMAA, AMVCA, Hip-Hop Awards, etc. But this unusual gathering was exactly the scene witnessed on Wednesday in Lagos, Nigeria at what can best be described as a grand acceptance and support for one of the proactive Filmmakers in Nollywood.
As such, the entertainment industry in Nigeria experienced a historic and unique event to celebrate an important milestone in the life of an accomplished producer. This event was the 50th birthday celebration of Martin Gbados.
Perhaps what made this event more significant is that Martin is the Producer of the Multi awards winning Movie – A Soldier’s Story and most analysts are finding it difficult to write him off going by his unprecedented commitment in seeing that Nollywood becomes the highest foreign exchange earner for the country while at the same time doing a huge image laundry job for the Country, if well supported and financed.
This commitment was underscored when American Based Hollywood Studios; Lions Gate released his blockbuster Nollywood Action Movie “A Soldier’s Story 2- Return from the Dead”, which is a sequel to the multi-award-winning movie “A Soldier’s Story’ in America and Canada across major streaming platforms and PAYTV like Apple iTunes, Google Play Movies, Vudu, Amazon Video, Microsoft Store, Comcast Xfinity, FandangoNOW, YouTube, Redbox, FlixFling, DIRECTV online and Apple TV.
Martin Gbados hails from Obokwu Autonomous Community in the Ezinihitte Mbaise L.G.A of Imo State. The proud father of two awesome kids studied Political Science at Abia State University. He built the foundation of his Filmmaking career on strings of sound educational backgrounds; he studied filmmaking at the New York Film Academy, United States of America.
Understanding that the business of Filmmaking is as important as making the film itself, the innovative and hardworking Martin understudied business at the prestigious Harvard Business School. Since returning to Nigeria after 16 years of sojourn in the United States of America, he has been pursuing his passion and with God’s ultimate blessing his works are receiving national and international acclaim.
Beyond this, he has been upbeat about the enormous potential in the Film Industry. This was evident when he was fielding questions from Newsmen on the sidelines of the Gala Night organized in honor of his 50th birthday at his residence. “We can make a film and make huge returns within 18 months in foreign currency. We are looking for what to export; here is it right in our face.
“Filmmakers need to be encouraged through setting up an interest-free loan and reducing the requirements. Most filmmakers don’t have any landed property to give as collateral for loans. They just want assistance from the government.
“In the United States, every State government has a Film Commission working to attract film production in their state to help increase their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), create employment and boost their tourism potentials while putting their state on the world stage.
“An Average of 200 films are made yearly in Nollywood with an average budget of 10million naira just in production, now that is 2 billion naira. Why won’t a state government want to attract part of that money to their state, give filmmakers some incentives, take care of their logistics? Delta state is the only state apart from Lagos state that seems to understand this economic premise”, Mr. Gbados stated.
As a reflection of the progressive ideology and friendship philosophy of Martin Gbados, dignitaries at the event included Hollywood and Nollywood veterans, political heavyweights, top government functionaries, business executives, and members of the show-biz community, who gathered to celebrate a man who has continued to advance the course of indigenous storytelling to an international audience while boosting the business of Filmmaking.
Given his achievements and passion, Martin Gbados has been a big boost to improving the strong dynamism and functionality in the Entertainment Industry.